Most Canadians enjoy an extra hour of sleep when clocks 'fall back' to daylight standard time. However, the extra morning light means dusk comes sooner making the afternoon drive riskier for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
Time-changes are known as a dangerous period for pedestrian and cycling injuries and fatalities. In autumn, it becomes riskier for pedestrians and cyclists to travel between 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. as they and drivers adjust to lower light visibility.
It caused us to survey over 3,000 Canadians in March 2018, to ask them about "vulnerable road users", which includes pedestrians and cyclists. We know that some habits continue to put pedestrians at risk, but we found an age group to be more so than the rest, youth.
3 out of 10 respondents admitted to texting while walking near a public road, which is cause for concern, but for Canadians aged between 16 and 24 that number doubles to 61%. For jaywalking, 47% of 16-to-24-year-olds reported doing so compared to the average of all age groups at 38%. When it comes to wearing headphones and listening to music near a public street, 57% of 16-to-24-year-olds admitted to doing so compared to the average of all age groups at 26%.
Research from the Traffic Injury Research Foundation showed that 20.6% of fatally injured 16-19-year-olds were vulnerable road users in 2014. And between 2010 and 2014, three-quarters were pedestrians. This causes additional concern as survey data shows that youth are more likely to jaywalk or walk distracted (e.g., texting/listening to music).
When asked 'Who is responsible for pedestrian and cyclist safety on the road?', a majority (64%) believe it is the responsibility of all parties (cyclists, pedestrians and drivers) to ensure they are obeying traffic laws, being courteous to others and not walking or driving while distracted. Respondents also stated that municipal governments have a responsibility in ensuring road safety (56%) with 72% indicating that city planning, and updated infrastructure play an essential role in keeping pedestrians and cyclists safer.
Drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and all road users, of all ages, have a responsibility to stay safe on the road. That includes the safety of others. Staying alert and focused on, or near, the road is important to prevent injuries and fatalities.
Vision Zero can help
Parachute Canada is committed to reducing the number of injuries and fatalities to zero through Vision Zero. Vision Zero calls for changes in road design to increase safety and mobility on urban streets. For example, advance stop lines can increase the likelihood of drivers yielding to pedestrians by approximately 60%. Protected bike lanes can reduce vehicle-bicycle crashes resulting in injury by 90%. And pedestrian/raised refuge islands can reduce vehicle-pedestrian crashes by 46%.
Learn more about Vision Zero here : parachutevisionzero.ca