According to a recent opinion piece, Calgary’s higher fines for violating pedestrian right-of-way makes our drivers far more conscious of pedestrians than in other major Canadian cities, and that keeps Calgary’s pedestrians safer.

This opinion is based on anecdotal evidence rather than empirical research, but it would be nice to believe. Pedestrian accidents can lead to very serious injuries and death, and even one such accident is one too many. If Calgary really is experiencing reduced numbers of these accidents compared to other cities, so much the better.

The fact remains, though, that pedestrian accidents do occur in Calgary, and they can cost the victims of these accidents huge sums in terms of medical bills, lost wages or salary when injuries prevent them from working, and in many cases diminished capacity to enjoy the same activities and quality of life that they did prior to their accidents.

Most pedestrian accidents occur at intersections, often when pedestrians have the full legal right-of-way—either at a traffic light where pedestrians have a signal that grants them the right of way, or at crosswalks that grant them an automatic right of way when they approach.

Even when pedestrians are in the road illegally or contrary to their right of way, Calgary drivers are legally obligated to yield to them in order to prevent injury.

Are pedestrian accidents less common in Calgary? Hard to say. But when they happen, they are very serious, and contacting a personal injury lawyer is in their best interests.