Good news in the battle against pedestrian-car collisions.

by John McKiggan

(By Mark Raftus)

Pedestrian-car “accidents” are decreasing in Halifax!

As reported in my December 23, 2014 post “Pedestrian-Car Collisions: An Epidemic in Nova Scotia” the number of pedestrian-car collisions in Halifax [and indeed throughout Nova Scotia] increased from 2013 to 2014 with the attributed causes ranging from poor weather to poor visibility such as dark lighting conditions. In order to combat this rise in “accidents” I suggested increased vigilance on the part of both pedestrian and car drivers. One consumer advocate suggested that if more tickets were issued collisions would decrease based upon data from other provinces who went the route of issuing more tickets. I will keep an eye out for updated information on that front.

In a later article dated February 5, 2015 entitled “Weather Watch – Winter Walking and Driving in Nova Scotia” I noted that winter weather creates additional negative conditions which contribute to pedestrian-car collisions. So you would think that with the terrible winter conditions we had in Halifax and the rest of Nova Scotia throughout the winter and spring of 2015 that pedestrian-car collisions would be way up.

That turned out not to be the case. The good news for Halifax is that in 2015 according to recent municiple statistics, there were 208 pedestrian-car collisions reported throughout the municipality which was 54 incidents fewer than the number of these types of collisions in 2014. That represented signified a 21 percent drop from 2014.

Significant statistics!

During the month of December, 2015 there were 32 pedestrian-car collisions in Halifax, compared to 39 in December, 2014.This reduced total is of particular note given the nights are longest in the month of December and the winter weather begins to set in. Both pedestrians and drivers alike begin to adjust to these less than ideal visibility conditions in this month. Seven fewer collisions represents close to a 20% drop which is significant.

These reduced numbers of pedestrian-car collisions are indeed a positive development.

HRM police Constable Dianne Woodworth is quoted as stating people are being more aware whether a pedestrian, cyclist or driver which she attributes as the key to keeping yourself safe.

The article further states that of the 208 collisions in 2015, 122 of them happened in crosswalks which represents 59% of the total collisions. Although the percentage of these types of collisions did stay constant at approximately 59% from the prior year, the positive message is that there was a drop from 156 crosswalk collisions in 2014 to 122 in 2015. In these 122 collisions there were still 217 people struck in crosswalks in Halifax in 2015. Of these 217 people struck sadly five people were killed and thirty suffered moderate to severe injuries which is still far too high a total and totally preventable.

Last month some people were shocked when Halifax increased it’s fines for jaywalking from $410 to almost $700! It will be interesting to see if the increased fine motivates pedestrians to be more careful.

There is still work to do but overall the trend is positive. Let’s hope pedestrian-car collisions continue to drop in 2016!

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