Store Locator

How to Keep All Road Users Safe This Fall

Experts share tips on how to minimize collisions between drivers, cyclists and pedestrians as the daylight hours wane

A woman with long brown hair wearing a beige coat and a black backpack holding a bright yellow umbrella. She is standing at a crosswalk that looks wet. There is a blue city bus behind her stopped at an intersection.

November 7 is an important day for early risers. That’s when the clocks turn back and typically dark mornings are bathed in light.

But for pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users, November 7 and the weeks that follow can be perilous. Early sunsets and increasingly inclement weather have often lead to a spike in road collisions, with non-drivers facing the highest risk of injury. In 2018, the last year for which there is complete data from the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario, 134 pedestrians and 23 cyclists died in collisions.

Making roads safer is everyone’s responsibility

Experts say all road users have an important role to play in keeping Ontario’s streets safe during the late fall.

“Let’s help each other out,” says Teresa Di Felice, assistant vice-president of government relations for CAA South Central Ontario. “We’ve already spent almost two years trying to keep each other healthy. That should extend beyond Covid-19 and to how we get around everyday.”

Ontario sees a rise in cyclists and pedestrians

This is particularly important this fall as Ontario slowly opens up following 18 months of pandemic-related closures. A CAA survey found that 45 percent of Ontarians are planning to drive more post-Covid, which means that we could see more vehicles on the road at a time when cycling and walking are surging in popularity.

Brandy Tanenbaum, an injury prevention specialist in the trauma department at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, sees some of the most severely injured pedestrians and cyclists. The people she sees at her unit suffer from injuries like multiple fractures and traumatic brain injuries. She believes that ultimately it’s everyone’s responsibility to prevent collisions.

“At the end of the day, no one plans to be in a collision and nobody wants to be responsible for injuring another person,” Tanenbaum says. “Collisions are preventable when we work together and share the limited road space respectfully.”

Tips for keeping everyone safe

To cut down on collisions, Di Felice urges drivers to remain alert, put away their phones, yield to pedestrians at marked crossings and to come to a complete stop at red lights and stop signs.

Pedestrians and cyclists should wear light clothing, only cross at marked intersections, make eye contact with drivers before stepping onto the road and stay alert all times. That means stowing their phones and headphones, Di Felice says.

Cyclists should also have a white front light, red rear light or reflector and a working bell.

Make sure other road users can see you

For more fall road safety tips, visit caasco.com/pedestrian. CAA Members can also visit their nearest participating CAA Store for up to four free reflector tags per family, which can be clipped onto backpacks, bags, purses or zippers to increase visibility.*

*Available at participating CAA Stores in the CAA South Central Ontario territory. Limit of 4 per family while supplies last.

Image credit: zamrznutitonovi/iStock