Almost 200 pedestrians were struck by Toronto drivers in just 45 days
Toronto is experiencing a surge in pedestrians struck by drivers, and though the year is only a month and a half underway, the city has already recorded a jaw-dropping 197 cases of motor vehicles colliding with pedestrians since Jan. 1 2023.
Breaking that figure down, an average of four pedestrians have been struck by cars in the city every single day since the start of the year.
.@TrafficServices reported last night that 197 pedestrians were struck by motorists since Jan. 1st. That's 4 people hit a day while walking in Toronto. @VoiceoverCop are you able to tell us how many cyclists have been struck & the total number of VRUs? https://t.co/m9W6BfVl9t pic.twitter.com/1dKjKtREZB— The Biking Lawyer (Dave Shellnutt) (@TheBikingLawyer) February 15, 2023
That's a 54 per cent increase over the same period last year, according to an Instagram post from Toronto Police officer Sean Shapiro. That same post, which spreads fault evenly across drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians, has been accused of victim blaming in comments.
It was framed as a “pedestrian problem” because its a problem that there has been a 54% increase in the number of pedestrians being stuck by vehicles. The intro was to get you to watch the video not blame any specific group.— Sean Shapiro (@VoiceoverCop) February 15, 2023
Personal injury lawyer and outspoken voice in the cycling community, David Shellnutt, shared a statement with members of the media on Wednesday, saying that the current state of pedestrian safety is "unconscionable and requires urgent attention from all levels of government."
He stressed that "the huge cost of those injured people on our communities, health care system, and employers is something to be taken seriously."
"This kind of carnage faced by vulnerable road users will have far-reaching effects on our city."
Shellnutt sees parallels between the rash of pedestrians struck and a similar rise in incidents of drivers striking cyclists, saying that based on what he sees in his practice, he is "sadly not surprised by these figures" and has "received a worrying number of calls from cyclists hit by motorists since the start of the year."
And that's just how many were reported.— Not Vex as in 🏳️🌈, but Vex as in 🏳️🌈 (@The_Terroirist) February 15, 2023
So many minor collisions that just don't ever get reported. Especially when cars hit bikes.
Shellnutt says he "would love to know from TPS how many cyclists have been hit by motorists and what is the total number of vulnerable road users involved in collisions with motorists in these first 45 days of 2023."
In light of the ongoing city council debate on Toronto's 2023 budget, Shellnutt urges politicians to prioritize "safety expenditures that prioritize traffic calming measures, protected infrastructure, and robust automated enforcement."
"In not doing anything or simply not enough, the cost in human misery and economic costs could be staggering at this pace," warns Shellnutt.
"We appreciate TPS sharing this information and calling for people to be safe, but let's face it, we know where the problem lies, and that is squarely with dangerous and distracted drivers."
"It's time we skip the niceties and deal with this massive problem honestly and head-on."
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