It’s that time of year again when we bid adieu to long days, the pool gets its final lap and our shorts switch over to pants. And with the cooler weather and shorter daylight hours, the changing season requires us to take extra care on our roads. “Foremost it needs to be said that road and pedestrian safety is a shared responsibility,” says Michael Stewart, Community Relations Consultant at CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO). “People should practice care and caution at all times, whether they’re commuting, using four wheels, two wheels or their feet.”
By the numbers: pedestrian safety in Ontario.
Over the past few years, events like the pandemic and increased gas prices have drastically changed how we get around. Ontarians are moving towards greener modes of transportation, like cycling and walking. According to CAA SCO’s vulnerable road user (VRU) survey in 2021, 47% of Ontarians are walking more and of those who have increased these habits, over 2/3 intend to maintain these habits post pandemic. In addition, a recent CAA Member survey found that almost 10% of non-cycling Members have considered purchasing a bike in order to drive less due to the increasing gas prices.
However, with any mode of transportation there are risks. In 2018, Ontario saw 117 pedestrian fatalities and 4,128 injuries. As an organization whose founding principle is the safety of its Members, CAA Advocacy continues its work to raise awareness and encourage positive road behaviour. No matter how you travel, whether you’re behind the wheel or on the pavement, Member safety is our first and foremost concern.
Get a FREE reflector tag* before daylight saving time.
CAA is once again offering free reflector tags at participating South Central Ontario CAA Stores this fall. The markers, which can be attached to backpacks and jackets, help make pedestrians and cyclists wearing them more visible. This is especially important after November 6th, 2022, when the clocks turn back and we lose an hour of afternoon daylight. As such, all road users need to use extra caution on our roads. Find your nearest CAA Store here and stop by for up to four free tags per family.
Rules to live by.
Considering the heightened safety concerns on our roads this fall, everyone can play their part. If you’re a pedestrian, cross only at designated intersections – whether signalized, crosswalks or midway cross points. Try to make eye contact with motorists at intersections. Make them aware that you’re present and be clear on what your intentions are, whether waiting for the light to change or crossing the road, explains Stewart.
Distractions are a part of life so we need to be extra aware of our surroundings. Don’t text or talk on the phone when crossing the road or cycling.
CAA also recommends that people on bikes ride with traffic, use their hand signals to communicate their intentions and use their front and rear lighting at night or in low visibility situations.
And let’s be mindful of society’s most vulnerable, senior citizens and people with disabilities. They may have mobility challenges, or are using assisted devices and need more time to cross the road. Drivers need to remain calm, courteous and patient with these important members of our society.
Maintenance is key.
Finally, it’s vital to give your car a full checkup.
- Is your headlight system working?
- Are your tires properly inflated?
- Are your windshield wiper blades doing their job?
- Do you have enough wiper fluid in your car?
As long as everyone follows the rules and takes proactive steps, the change in season can be a safe one, shares Stewart. “At CAA, we want to make sure everyone is getting where they’re going in a safe and efficient manner.”