According to City of Calgary data provided to the Calgary Herald, and as reported in a May 2018 article, at least one person is hit by a vehicle each and every day in this city.
And those are only the reported incidents. There are likely dozens, if not hundreds, more. Additional statistics presented paint an even more ugly picture as well. From 2004 to 2014, there were 3,834 pedestrian collisions recorded in Calgary, which resulted in 3,317 injuries and 95 fatalities. Of the 3,317, 23 per cent of the victims sustained major, life-changing injuries. In 53 per cent of those accidents, the pedestrian was determined to have had the right of way. The driver had the right of way in only 21 per cent. Even more disturbing, drivers fled the scene of the accident 18 per cent of the time,
The World Health Organization says that pedestrians have a 90 per cent chance of surviving being hit by a vehicle going 30 km/h or less. There is a less than 50 per cent chance of survival when the vehicle is going 45 km/h or more. This is due to the number of impacts pedestrian sustains: the initial hit, then being bounced off the vehicle, then being thrown onto the pavement. Everything inside the body is knocked around, resulting in massive internal injuries. Because of this, many major municipalities – including Calgary – are considering lowering residential speed limits to 40 km/h. In addition, the City is working on a pedestrian strategy recommending investing in making communities more walkable and with the goal of reducing pedestrian collisions. The aim is to have fewer than four pedestrian deaths a year by 2025.
How Calgary Compares
A City of Calgary Safer Mobility report states that the city’s pedestrian casualty rate is at about 31 per 100,000 people. This is lower than the national average of 52 deaths for 100,000 people, however it can definitely be said that 31 is way too many.
In 2018 Toronto hit an all-time high for pedestrian and cyclist fatalities. A Toronto Star article reported that by early December there had been 46 pedestrian and cyclist fatalities. Concern has risen because the numbers rose even with the implementation of a comprehensive plan called Vision Zero that had the intent of completely eliminating traffic fatalities.
Pedestrian safety is becoming more top of mind in conversations between city planners, police and emergency responders as collision numbers do not seem to be falling. Efforts are underway to reduce pedestrian collision occurrences permanently
How to Avoid a Pedestrian Collision
Even if a pedestrian is not following the rules of the road, drivers should always remember that they are especially vulnerable when it comes to tangling with a 4,000-pound automobile. Drivers can do a lot to make the roads safer for pedestrians. Always be sure to follow these best practices:
- Watch crosswalks at all times. Pedestrians can be slightly lackadaisical when it comes to crosswalks. Quite often they are distracted by their devices, in a hurry, or simply not paying attention, and as soon as the sign changes to “walk,” they are off. Be sure to anticipate pedestrians in crosswalks well ahead of time, and if there are people crossing the street, wait until they have completely cleared the intersection before you move through. It’s the law in Alberta. At uncontrolled crossings, be sure to try to make eye contact with those who are crossing to let them know that you have fully stopped and are aware they are there.
- Keep your eyes on traffic ahead of you. As you scan the road, watch for turning vehicles that are slowing down or stopping at intersections. This likely indicates that there is a pedestrian crossing the street. Knowing that someone is there will help you anticipate what might happen when you reach the intersection yourself.
- Beware of jaywalkers. While of course pedestrians shouldn’t jaywalk, the reality is that people do it all the time. If you spot a jaywalker or someone who looks like they may be contemplating jaywalking, reduce your speed and be prepared to stop. Even though you have the right of way, it won’t matter much in the event of a tragic collision. Just think if how awful it would feel to have seriously injured or even killed someone as a driver.
- Be mindful of other drivers’ sight lines. If you don’t leave enough room between your vehicle and the car in front of you, you might be obscuring the view of the intersection for drivers behind you. This increases the risk of a pedestrian collision.
Of course, keeping pedestrians safe – and keeping your car insurance in Calgary as low as possible – also requires that you avoid distracted driving. Never use handheld devices while driving for any reason, keep music to moderate levels, and always watch the road.
Car Insurance Calgary: Important Resources from Lane’s Insurance
Lane’s Insurance is a full-service, Alberta-based brokerage offering the market’s most competitive rates on car insurance in Calgary and throughout Alberta. As part of our commitment to outstanding customer service, we offer an extensive library of online resources.