Manitoba

Almost half of people killed on Manitoba's roads this year have been pedestrians: MPI

Out of 14 people killed on Manitoba roads in the first four months of 2019, six were pedestrians, says Manitoba Public Insurance.

Of 14 people killed in the first 4 months of 2019, 6 were pedestrians: Manitoba Public Insurance

On average, about 12 pedestrians are killed and about 130 are injured every year in Manitoba, says MPI. (Warren Kay/CBC)

Nearly half of all road fatalities in Manitoba this year have involved pedestrians, according to new figures released by the province's Crown insurer.

Out of 14 people killed on Manitoba roads in the first four months of 2019, six were pedestrians, Manitoba Public Insurance says.

That includes the death of four-year-old Galila Habtegergish, who was struck by a car in a crosswalk at Isabel Street and Alexander Avenue on March 18.

Just two days later, a 41-year-old man was struck at the intersection of Osborne Street and Morley Avenue. He later died from his injuries.

"Pedestrians can be particularly vulnerable since they don't have a ton of steel protecting them like occupants within a vehicle," said Satvir Jatana, vice-president for communications with MPI.

On average, about 12 pedestrians are killed and about 130 are injured every year in Manitoba, MPI says.

Roughly half of all pedestrian deaths occur at intersections, said MPI spokesperson Brian Smiley. Roughly one in 10 deaths take place between intersections or while walking on the road, he said.

"Both motorists and pedestrians, unfortunately, are not sharing the road responsibly or safely," Smiley said. "In some situations, motorists are not observing traffic signals, they are ignoring controlled crosswalks. And in other situations, unfortunately, pedestrians are crossing roadways between intersections."

'Hypnotic state' of driving

The figures were released Thursday in advance of Canada Road Safety Week, which starts next week.

Smiley said the goal of the awareness week is start a conversation about how to keep yourself and others safe on the road.

He advises people to drive and walk defensively. That means paying attention to your surroundings, whether you're behind the wheel or about to step into the street at a crosswalk.

"It's very, very important that [pedestrians] turn their head and they get eye contact with the vehicle, and they can acknowledge that they see the vehicle see them, and the vehicles are going to stop," Smiley said.

Drivers also need to follow the rules of the road, he added.

"Not to be speeding, not to be distracted — again, to be fully aware of their surroundings, not to fall into that hypnotic state of just driving."

Finally, Smiley said parents need to make sure their children are getting the message, too.

"It would be really, really important for parents to take an active role — cross the streets with their children, teach them the rules of the road, just don't assume that your child is going to cross the road safely — because we can never make that assumption."

Canada Road Safety Week runs from Tuesday, May 14, to Monday, May 20.

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