Pedestrians are some of the most vulnerable road users. They are 284 times more likely to be killed or injured in a crash in comparison to drivers or passengers in a motor vehicle. According to City of Calgary data, on average at least one pedestrian is struck by a vehicle on Calgary’s streets every day.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are less drivers on the road and more people are walking or cycling in their neighbourhoods. As services begin to reopen in Alberta, people are returning to work and businesses are reopening. This means increased traffic and busier streets with more road users. It is important to ensure that our roadways are safe, no matter how we choose to travel.
In Canada, one of the leading causes of injury-related deaths for children 14 years of age and younger are pedestrian injuries. Children have been found to be more likely involved in a car accident as a pedestrian in city areas with heavy traffic, lots of parked vehicles and few play spaces. However, children who are hit by a vehicle in rural areas are more likely to die from their injuries due to the faster vehicle speeds involved.
PEDESTRIAN ROAD SAFETY TIPS TO TEACH CHILDREN
The habit of walking with your children at a young age is essential to promoting a healthy and active lifestyle. However, often children do not have the ability to assess and choose safe routes or judge when and where it is safe to cross the road. It is therefore important to guide and teach children pedestrian safety at an early age to ensure that they are capable of walking safely in their neighbourhood.
It is most important to teach by example in order to help your children become independent and responsible pedestrians. The following are helpful pedestrian road safety practices to discuss with your children:
- Find accessible, walkable and well-lit routes to walk to your destination.
- Stop, look and listen. Always be aware of your surroundings and pay specific attention when attempting to cross the road.
- Obey pedestrian signals and only cross at marked crosswalks and intersections.
- Look left, right and left again before crossing a street and keep your eyes open until you have safely made it to the other side of the road.
- Educate your child about the safe places to cross the road, including crosswalks, and teach them how to push the button to indicate that you want to cross the road.
- Remind your children that a green light for pedestrians does not always mean that it is safe to cross the street. It is important to make sure that all vehicles have stopped completely before proceeding across the road.
- Check each lane of traffic to ensure that the vehicles have stopped to allow you to cross.
- Avoid all distractions while walking, especially if you have a cell phone with you.
- Make sure that you are visible to drivers by wearing light-coloured clothing or clothes with reflective materials.
- Always avoid jaywalking.
Despite all efforts to train your child to be an independent, secure and responsible pedestrian, accidents can happen if your child encounters a careless or reckless driver.
WHO IS AT FAULT WHEN A CAR HITS A PEDESTRIAN?
In Alberta, drivers owe a duty of care to pedestrians. They are required to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. Drivers are obligated to operate their vehicle lawfully, yield to pedestrians and consider how the weather conditions can affect the ability to operate their vehicle safely. Failing to follow these obligations may result in serious injury to a pedestrian.
According to Alberta’s Traffic Safety Act, when a collision occurs between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian, the driver will ordinarily be found 100% liable for the accident unless he/she can prove that they were not at fault for the accident.
The Act places what is known as a “reverse onus” on the driver to prove that a reasonable driver in the same situation could not have prevented the accident from occurring. Thus, the driver and owner of the motor vehicle have the onus of proving that the loss or damage did not arise through the negligence or improper conduct of the owner/driver of the vehicle.
If the driver can prove that the actions of the pedestrian caused or contributed to the accident, Alberta Courts have not hesitated to find that a pedestrian was partially or completely at fault for a collision. This will be based upon the specific facts of each case. The court will look at the actions of each party and assign a percentage of liability to each party.
A Court will review all of the circumstances of an accident to determine liability including whether the pedestrian was acting reasonably, where the pedestrian crossed the street, and whether the pedestrian was taking reasonable care for his/her own safety.
HOW CAN A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER HELP?
If you or a loved one have suffered serious injuries as a result of a pedestrian accident, it is imperative that you have an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you determine fault for the accident.
Consulting with a personal injury lawyer can help you understand your rights, consider your options, and potentially mitigate any problems that may be a barrier to filing a claim.
At Cuming & Gillespie LLP, we have been representing accident victims for more than 20 years. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial challenges that arise in the aftermath of a pedestrian accident involving a motor vehicle and can empathize with what victims of such incidents are going through.
If you are considering filing a personal injury claim following an accident with a motor vehicle, do not hesitate to contact the experienced and knowledgeable personal injury lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP online or at 403-571-0555. We look forward to helping you obtain the compensation that you deserve.