Toronto

Real items from deadly crashes front and centre in city's new Vision Zero campaign

A shattered cycling helmet encased in glass is part of a harrowing new public awareness campaign for the city's Vision Zero plan to eliminate all traffic fatalities.

As traffic fatalities continue, city turns to powerful ads hoping to change behaviour

The cracked cycling helmet worn by a Toronto man who was struck and killed while riding his bike is part of a new public safety campaign encouraging everyone to be more careful on the roads. (Linda Ward/CBC)

A shattered cycling helmet encased in glass is part of a harrowing new public awareness campaign for the city's Vision Zero plan to eliminate all traffic fatalities.

City of Toronto officials unveiled five installations on Tuesday — most can be found in the downtown core — featuring items found near the scene of deadly collisions.

The cycling helmet, the display notes, belongs to a man named Edouard, who was struck and killed by a driver who ran a red light. "The impact was so severe that Edouard's wife and family were unable to donate his organs, something he had requested in his will," the display says.

The artifact that I shared was the paper bag containing Tom's wallet, keys and wedding band that were given to me the day that he was killed.- Kasia Briegmann-Samson, Friends and Families for Safe Streets

There are other items included in the campaign, including a teenager's damaged backpack, a crumpled car door and a frayed dog leash. 

The powerful campaign comes as people continue to die on roadways across the city. Toronto police statistics show there have been 32 pedestrians, 12 motorists (drivers and passengers), nine motorcyclists and four cyclists killed in 2018.

In the last five years, the city says 190 pedestrians have been killed by drivers, while another 656 were seriously injured.

'We are sharing these stories in order to change'

A number of people passing by the exhibit told reporters they were shocked by the powerful bus-shelter ads. Barbara Gray, the city's general manager of transportation, says that's the point.

"We are sharing these stories in order to change our attitudes, our behaviours and ultimately the culture about road safety in Toronto," she told reporters.

Despite the city's goal of zero traffic fatalities, nearly 200 pedestrians have been killed in the past five years. (Katherine Holland/CBC)

Those affected by tragedy are also helping with the initiative.

Kasia Briegmann-Samson, whose husband, teacher Tom Samson, was struck and killed while cycling in 2012, personally donated items.

"The artifact that I shared was the paper bag containing Tom's wallet, keys and wedding band that were given to me the day that he was killed," said Briegmann-Samson, who is now part of the group Friends and Families for Safe Streets.

It wasn't easy to part with the items, Briegmann-Samson said, but she's hoping it helps move conversations about road safety to the next level.

The campaign, called "Art of Distraction," will also include posters, radio, TV and social media ads, and is set to run until mid-December. If you want to see the installations, they can be found at:

  • Victoria Park Avenue and Eglinton Square.
  • King Street West and Spadina Avenue.
  • Blue Jays Way and Front Street West.
  • Queen Street West and Augusta Avenue.
  • College Street and McCaul Street.

CBC Toronto's Safer Streets series has been documenting safety issues raised by residents across the city. To alert us to issues in your neighbourhood, email: SaferStreetsToronto@cbc.ca

With files from Linda Ward

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?

now