Thursday, January 28, 2010

Analysis of the Toronto pedestrian fatalities of 2009

· Since January 10th, 8 people have lost their lives on Toronto’s roads.

· 7 of those deaths have been pedestrians.

· 5 women and 2 men

· Aged 31 to 80

· They were struck in the morning, evening and night (3 morning, 3 evening, 2 night)

· Good weather, poor weather, daylight and darkness

· Small vehicles to the largest ones on our roads

· From our downtown to the suburbs of Toronto

· 4 killed mid block (“Jay Walking”)

· 2 killed at intersections with vehicles turning

· 1 killed at intersection by vehicle proceeding straight

· The only common thread between all of these deaths are Vehicles and Humans

· Vehicles don’t kill or injure by themselves, the humans operating them set their destructive ability in place

· Traffic controls provide a guide for a “right of way”,

· Human situational awareness, sound decisions and common sense dictate if you should take that “right of way”

· Human error is the true cause and blame in all of these collisions.

· Human decisions have dictated the outcomes.

· Human choices have changed so many lives.

Ensuring pedestrian and traffic safety is a priority of the Toronto Police Service.

While we strive to reduce the number of collisions across Toronto, we hope that the perception of our road users is that they are safe.

Statistics show us that Toronto is one of the safest cities in the world for traffic.

In 2009, Toronto saw the fewest number of road deaths in its modern history. Even with only 48 deaths last year, our most vulnerable road users, pedestrians and cyclists, are telling us, “We don’t feel safe.”

We want to change those feelings to reflect the reality that by and large, you are safe on our streets.

Toronto has witnessed unexplained, short term spikes in both death and injury collisions in the past many times. Our belief is this is a spike once again, only with more attention as our neighbours in the GTA have seen the same collisions happening in their jurisdictions.

But it is not the nature of the Toronto Police Service to wait for a short term rise in crime to go away by itself and we will not wait for this to go away by itself either.

Traffic Services and all the Divisions across Toronto are engaging this recent problem by having officers pay special attention to pedestrian and driving offences that put lives unnecessarily at risk.

Enforcement and education are tools that have both been shown to effectively increase safety, reduce lawlessness create better neighbourhoods.

The Toronto Police Service will increase its efforts educate when the opportunity arises and enforce when warranted.

The people of Toronto have told us that enforcement for law breakers needs to be increased to re-establish a sense of civility on our roads so that those who operate within the bounds of safety and cooperation are the norm, not the exception.

Drivers can not operate with a sense of entitlement to our roads with a “me first” attitude.

Pedestrians must not walk with the belief that all drivers will see them and therefore compromise their own safety by not taking ownership and responsibility for their own safety.

Pedestrians can expect that when they interfere with traffic while crossing the road, don’t use crosswalks properly and endanger their own lives and the lives of others that they will be dealt with in the most appropriate manner.

Drivers who don’t make the safe operation of their vehicles paramount can expect to be reminded of the priority of safety through penalties and sanctions.

The Toronto Police Service will strategically position officers where problems have historically occurred or volumes demand action.

Road safety is everyone’s responsibility. It is a responsibility that begins with you and ends with your fellow road users all taking care to cooperate and be safe with each other’s lives.

Marites, Nouhad, Leena, Leovina, Chen, Yonas, Juliette...

You may been know in data analysis and media reports as numbers, but you are sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers to those who love you and for that, the people of Toronto owe it to your memory to learn from the loss of your lives to prevent future deaths from happening.


  1. Very well said. Thank you.

    I believe there are some places in my neighbourhood which tend to be "pedestrian traps", either because of pedestrians' presumption and custom or because of positioning of pedestrian signal lights in relation to the drivers' traffic lights. As I encounter them, I'll tweet them to @311Toronto on Twitter.

  2. The only thing missing in this analysis is whether the law was being broken and by whom.

    4 Jaywalking sounds like pedestrian fault.
    1 proceeding through sounds like driver fault.
    2 at intersections can't tell. Was someone going against the light?

    Don't get me wrong, every accident is a mistake by both people, but if analysis shows that pedestrians are simply ignoring rules then I think they shoulder more of the responsibility.

  3. great article, the message is clear
    please read mine at
    I think you'll find it worth spreading

  4. All true, but there's another problem: The gerrymandering of the system to frustrate drivers. The out-of-sync traffic lights, the rights granted to aggressive buses, these elements make drivers more likely to take unacceptable risks in order to speed their trips.

    See my comments here.

  5. Hey TEV...sorry I had to reject your comment.
    You directed it at the wrong person and I would rather not have any insults towards others. I want to keep this blog for positive or at least constructive comments.

  6. More vehicles on the road!!!
    With more vehicles comes the statistics and probabilities... 80% of drivers are good drivers, 20% are made up of
    10% elite get out of my way drivers
    10% is made up of 5% brain dead and
    5% don't give a crap drivers. It is these you have to be careful of!

    The 5% are the ones that had parents that never gave a crap so they don't. They could be the ones from impoverised places where no one gave a crap so its what they know.
    Either way, they will run you down.

    The economy is our number one concern in this country. The GDP our god like thing we admire. The stores our churches now. And, the roads our conduit to freedom...
    We just dumped in billions into the economy to keep it afloat (care of the next generation to take care of the bill... we'll have another party and debt will come up again... even larger).

    The vehicle is no longer a luxury item. It is now a necessity.
    So far removed everyone is from nature now. Yet, nature is pure capitalism - the strong survive the weak die.
    We are pure corporate socialists now. Ensuring that our automobile lifestyle, big box store freedom and subsidies, big homes etc... are kept alive at any future expense.

    What does this have to do with all the fatalities and such... we'll they say a person dies every 3 hours from a vehicle incident (don't call them an accident for most can be prevented)... if this was a disease we'd stick millions into finding a cure. Yet, one can go out on the road today and run someone down... by 2pm in the afternoon they could be out drinking coffee again...

    We have become this lax and lazy society.
    We can't even spend the time to press on the brakes to allow pedestrains to cross the street safely. It just takes a couple of muscles!!!
    We have been given this 3000lbs of metal with lots of power. As humans, our baboon spirit arises and we get careless and hungry for more...
    "get out of my way" is the baboon attitude that arises... in just 100 years we have evolved into this lazy creature total dependent on the automobile... what have we bought into! What have we become really...!!!

    I suspect that it will only get worse as most cities were built with money in mind. So, they are built quick without much thought for pedestrians or other modes of alternative transportation.
    The good ol automobile big build of the 1950s made people a lot of money and our politicians still rely on this old fashion model (even though we are hitting peak oil). So, all else takes a back seat.

    I just got back from Vancouver. In the core, drivers stop for pedestrians for the most part. If a pedestrain wants to cross the road all traffic stops dead.
    I suspect this will change with time as the economy changes shape though (vancouver is might expensive for itself - core hold million dollar condos). With tough times will come tense people, panic people, hyper people, more disregard for human life ... more don't give a crap people form...
    Its a delicate balance that we don't keep tame.
    We like to dump money into the economy price spiking it... making people move all at once. Everyone buying a vehicle all at once... hence, more vehicles on the road... then comes panic times, hyper times... and more tense roads...

    Its going to be interesting to see what happens. I can say one thing though - TO is a sht hole... would never in a million years want to live there ever again.
    Visit if you want to be run down. Total disregard for human life. Panic, hyper, tense people going no place fast... toilet time?

  7. Jac;
    It took me a bit of time to decide if I was going to publish your comment. The reason is you made a lot of good points and views, but you ended it rather negatively.
    Toronto is a great city with even greater citizens. Certainly not how you described it.
    My belief is that one person killed on our streets is one too many, but in the greater picture, Toronto is extremely safe compared to any city of it's size and far better than many smaller cities.
    I am thankful that the vast majority of the people who visit, play, work and live in Toronto do so with great care and attention to is a small percentage that cause so much devastation and those are the people I will continue to target.