Sudbury·Audio

Both drivers and pedestrians need to be looking out for each other: police

Police say collisions between pedestrians and vehicles have gone down in Sudbury in 2015, but those who walk every day in the city say they are still concerned about where they step.

Traversing the roads — whether on foot or by car — is a shared responsibility between drivers and pedestrians

Sudbury's Eric Moore makes it a point to find time for a walk pretty much every day. Last year he was hit by a car making a right hand turn. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

Police say collisions between pedestrians and vehicles have gone down in Sudbury in 2015, but those who walk every day in the city say they are still concerned about where they step.

People like Eric Moore, who spends two hours walking around Sudbury every day, are being more cautious.

Last year he was hit by a car that was trying to make a right hand turn on a red light.

"I don't cross in front of the vehicle anymore. It's dangerous," he told CBC News.

Sudbury's Eric Moore makes it a point to find time for a walk pretty much every day. The CBC's Olivia Stefanovich joined him on one of his recent walks to talk about what it's like to be a pedestrian in the city of Greater Sudbury.

Like Moore, Matt Alexander also makes an effort to walk every day — but not without his GoPro camera.

"I walk from the west end to downtown for work and at Lorne and Douglas. I video that crossing every single day because there are always people who will turn while I'm in the intersection," he said.

"It gets scary sometimes and I just want to make sure that if something happens I've got it on tape. I don't share everything. Most drivers are totally great and drive safely, but it only takes one person to hit you."

Sudbury Police staff sergeant Rick Waugh said pedestrian collisions are a shared responsibility, and completely preventable.

"I drive my vehicle to work every day, but I still walk three blocks to get to work from where I park. So I'm very careful as a pedestrian. I'm very careful as a motorist," he said.

"It's one thing to look for vehicles, but we need to adjust our thinking. It's more than vehicles. There's other people who use the roadways because really we're all pedestrians regardless if you're driving a vehicle or not."

Matt Alexander records himself walking and cycling in Sudbury because he wants to show people how dangerous the conditions can be and how much potential there is to improve walkability. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

Prioritize pedestrian travel?

A total of 53 pedestrians were hit by vehicles this year — down from the 77 collisions that happened in 2014.

Alexander, who is founder of Sudbury Moves Facebook and YouTube pages, is a staunch pedestrian safety advocate — and he's regularly on social media trying to keep the conversation around the subject going.

"I know it's starting to change the dialogue among people," he said.

"Whether or not that translates into changes in policy we'll see. My hope is that, with the transportation master plan, we'll see some real improvements that prioritize pedestrian travel."

Matt Alexander records himself walking and cycling in Sudbury because he wants to show people how dangerous the conditions can be and how much potential there is to improve walkability. He joined us in studio to tell us more.

Waugh noted that getting both pedestrians and drivers to keep road safety in mind is important.

"When we're looking at road safety and trying to get people to abide by the speed limits and keep both hands on the wheel and really focus on the safety component of road safety, I'm hoping that that's contributing to the reduction of pedestrian collisions that we've seen over the last three years," he said.

Waugh said he expects the number of pedestrian collisions to continue dropping at the beginning of the new year. That's  because, as the temperature drops, people don't walk as much.

"We would like no pedestrians to be struck by a vehicle. Our thought process is that these things are totally preventable and we just need to get the message out to everybody," Waugh continued.

"If you're driving properly and pedestrians are paying attention, there's just really no reason why it should happen."

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