No April Fools' Joke Here
Our Pedestrian Seniors are Being Killed
Toronto – April 1, 2015 As of March 18th there had been a total of eight pedestrian fatalities in Toronto, and the youngest of those victims was 58 years of age. That was the update from Toronto Police that brought a recent meeting of the B.A.S.S.I.C. (Bringing An Awareness of Senior Safety Issues to the Community) Committee to a standstill - every pedestrian killed so far this year has been an older adult. Sadly, since March 18th this number has risen to eleven pedestrian fatalities in the City of Toronto, with the youngest victim being 57 years of age.
‘Despite an overall reduction in pedestrian trauma, the elderly continue to have the highest pedestrian mortality and morbidity rates of any Canadian population segment’ shows reports from the iNavigait program, a pedestrian safety program run by Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. According to iNavigait, ‘pedestrian injuries can happen to any age group but seniors are over-represented in pedestrian trauma.’
Alarming to the B.A.S.S.I.C. Committee is not only the number of fatalities, but that there has been no consensus to the time of day or the location of collisions that have occurred. According to the Toronto Police reports, half of the fatalities have occurred at mid-block, while the majority of the others have occurred at intersections and have involved turning vehicles. As for the time of day when these incidents happened, there is again no consensus. Half of the fatalities have occurred in the morning hours, while the other half occurred during the early evening hours.
Toronto Police, Toronto Public Health, York Regional Police, and many other organizations - some of whom are members of B.A.S.S.IC. - take steps to educate the public and promote pedestrian safety on a regular basis. It is well-known and well-reported that many pedestrian collisions and fatalities occur in the early evening hours just after day-light savings, but this is not the only time that pedestrians need to be aware and take care. As pedestrians we need to take accountability for what we can control.
Intersection Safety Tips:
• Be aware of your walking speed and the allowed walking time
• Stop - Look (left-right-left) before stepping off the curb
• Cross when all cars have come to a complete stop
• Make eye contact with the driver
• Draw attention to yourself – be visible, wear bright colours
Tips to help you stay safe:
• Don’t talk on a cell phone or be otherwise distracted while crossing the street
• Be cautious and assume that drivers do not see you
• Don’t assume the vehicle will be able to stop – even if you have the right of way, don’t step onto the roadway until the car has come to a complete stop
• Use mobility, hearing or visual aids as recommended or required
• Wear proper and well-maintained footwear
• Cross at intersections with traffic signals, marked crosswalks or stop signs
• Use your eyes before your feet
• Cross the street as if your life depends on it….because it does!
B.A.S.S.I.C.’s mission is to improve the quality of life for seniors by raising awareness of senior safety issues. B.A.S.S.I.C. members and associates fulfill this mission by working together to deliver safety seminars and symposiums and producing a safety calendar. Members represent non-profit organizations from the Toronto and Greater Toronto Area, and several levels and areas of government. These members include fire, police, health agencies, as well as non-profit organizations concerned about seniors and safety.
For more information regarding 2015 pedestrian incidents contact:
Police Constable, Toronto Police
For more information on the medical perspective of pedestrian injuries contact:
Manager, Sunnybrook RBC First Office for Injury Prevention
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
For more information on B.A.S.S.I.C., and what we do contact:
Public Educator, Toronto Fire Services
Public Educator, Richmond Hill Fire & Emergency Services