23-year-old woman is fourth pedestrian death of 2008
A 23-year-old woman was killed Friday night after being hit while crossing Wilson Ave. east of Allen Road, Toronto police said.
The woman was pronounced dead at the scene after a westbound vehicle struck her at about 5:50 p.m. Police have not released details of the woman's name and are seeking witnesses.
The woman is the latest in a series of pedestrian deaths. On Jan. 5, two Toronto pedestrians - a 31-year-old woman and a 75-year-old man -- were killed in the same hour. Two days later, an elderly woman died after being hit while using a pedestrian crosswalk.
In 2007, 23 pedestrians died in Toronto, and in 2006, 30 people were killed while on foot, the Toronto Police Service told CTV.ca on Saturday.
According to Traffic Services Const. Mark Melby, a large number of the deaths are caused by pedestrians crossing at inappropriate times and places.
"Often they are jaywalking, crossing against the light or just being on the road when they shouldn't," he told CTV.ca, noting that clothing selection can also be a factor in pedestrian safety. "People that get hit are often dressed inconspicuously, wearing black."
Pedestrians often blame aggressive city drivers for the dangers on the streets, while others complain many sections of roadway don't contain enough designated crossing zones for those on foot.
Toronto Pedestrian Committee Co-chair Dylan Reid said that being scared away from problematic areas is one of the worst things pedestrians can do to ensure their safety. The more people that are in an area, the more likely drivers are to respect their space and be prepared for their presence.
"It's a virtuous circle," Reid told CTV.ca. "The problem with some of the fears people have about walking in public spaces is that they become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If people become scared of walking in public spaces and so avoid them, the spaces start to become deserted, and that makes them more dangerous."
There is one new measure seems to have gone over well with city residents and prevented pedestrian injuries: the countdown crosswalk signals installed at intersections throughout the city last summer. The LED-lit signs count down the seconds left in which pedestrians can cross safely, deterring them from entering the intersection if there isn't enough time to cross.
City staff attributed last year's notable decrease of fatalities to the new signs, saying 2007 represented a 10-year low in pedestrian death numbers. The highest was 2000, where 50 people died while on foot.