Toronto

Toronto police say 6 to 7 pedestrians hit daily

An average of six to seven pedestrians are struck by vehicles in Toronto every day, police say.

An average of six to seven pedestrians are struck by vehicles in Toronto every day, police say.

"I don't think that people are really aware of the amount that we do [have] daily," said Toronto Police Service Const. Hugh Smith. Part of that reason, he said, is because police only publicize the more serious collisions, like those that involve fatalities.

His comments come one day after a woman was struck and killed by a vehicle in the city's west end. The woman, 50, stepped from behind a hydro pole on Dundas Street West near Kenneth Avenue into the path of an oncoming truck Wednesday morning, police said. The driver of the truck tried unsuccessfully to stop. The woman was taken to hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries.

That fatal collision brings the number of pedestrians struck by vehicles in Toronto in the past two days (Nov. 16 and 17) to 16 — a figure that made headlines in a number of local media outlets. But Smith said that's not out of the ordinary.

In 2009, 2,200 pedestrian-vehicle collisions were reported, said Smith.

Meanwhile, on Nov. 16 and 17 last year, 18 pedestrians were hit, he said. In 2008, 16 pedestrians were struck on those two days.

"We do notice a spike in November," said Smith. He attributed the rise to shorter days due to the shift from daylight time and worsening weather.

"They're all preventable. it comes down to some kind of human error. Whether it's a pedestrian taking some kind of risky behaviour or a motorist just not looking out for them," said Smith. "We'd like to minimize that by, you know, as much education as we can. But at some times, it's got to be due to enforcement, because there's a lot of people out there doing risky behaviour."

Police concluded a week-long pedestrian safety campaign on Sunday, and handed out around 12,000 tickets to drivers and cyclists. Just under 1,200 tickets were issued to pedestrians.

Sixteen of this year's 34 traffic-related fatalities in Toronto are pedestrian deaths. At this point last year, 27 pedestrians were killed in Toronto, and 31 pedestrians were killed in the whole year.