Cars hit 1,083 Toronto pedestrians, cyclists since June

With 542 pedestrians and 541 cyclists struck by cars since June, an urban planner says Toronto is facing a public health epidemic.

So many accidents point to a need for new infrastructure, Kyle Miller says

In 112 days, 541 cyclists were hit by vehicles in Toronto. (David Donnelly/CBC)

An urban planner says Toronto is facing a "public health epidemic," after 1,083 pedestrians and cyclists were struck by cars since June.

Cars hit 542 pedestrians and 541 cyclists over 112 days — an average of nearly 10 collisions a day.

"Regardless of who's at fault, something has to change here," Kyle Miller told CBC's Metro Morning Friday..

Those numbers are higher than for the same time period last year, when cars struck 474 pedestrians and 525 cyclists, according to figures from Toronto police.

Need for change

Miller, who works at an urban design and planning firm located in downtown Toronto called Urban Strategies, says that if 1,000 people in Toronto were mugged or stabbed over a four month period, people would be "clamouring for action."

He says that so many accidents point to a need for infrastructure changes.

Vehicles hit 999 pedestrians and cyclists in the same time period last year. (Laura DaSilva/CBC)

"If cyclists are cycling the wrong way maybe it means we need a bike lane in that location," he said.

"If pedestrians are jaywalking maybe it means the blocks are too long and we need crosswalks."

Police officer points to human error

However, Const. Clinton Stibbe of Toronto Police traffic Services says all collisions are ultimately caused by human mistakes and risky behaviour.

"Those mistakes are being made by individuals, not by infrastructure," he told CBC News.

"People in the community have to play a part in their own safety."

Hit by a car on Queen St.

Miller himself was hit by a car while cycling in early September. He was riding across from city hall on Queen Street, when a driver sideswiped him.

Although he escaped with only a bruise and some soreness, many others aren't so lucky.

"The big metal box always wins against the soft, soft body," he said.

Miller says Toronto should be looking for inspiration from cities that make all modes of transportation a priority.

He suggests a policy of adding bike lanes whenever other roadwork is happening, to reduce installation costs.