Laws Regulating Pedestrian Safety In Ontario Are Tougher Than Ever

With summer in full swing, we see more people out and about enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. Unfortunately, with more pedestrians out in areas of high traffic, we have been experiencing higher instances of pedestrian accidents.

Pedestrian Accidents Still On the Rise

In March, Toronto’s mayor announced new measures to try to counteract the latest rash of pedestrian accidents. These would be part of the city’s five year plan called Vision Zero that began in 2017. Although pedestrian accidents are a common problem across all our cities, Toronto leads due to the amount of pedestrians it sees each day. During the first three months of this year, Toronto experienced the fatalities of eleven pedestrians which sparked an outcry to make pedestrian safety a priority. The simple truth is that pedestrian accidents are on the rise throughout the country.

The Risks of Being a Pedestrian in High Volume Traffic Areas

Because a pedestrian doesn’t have the protection of a vehicle surrounding them, they are far more at risk in an accident. When pedestrians come into contact with moving vehicles, the pedestrian most often comes out the loser suffering:

● Fractures and broken bones
● Abrasions
● Lacerations
● Traumatic brain injuries
● Spinal cord injuries
● Internal injuries
● Fatalities

Changes in Law Protecting Pedestrians

Two years ago, the province changed laws affording pedestrians greater protection at crossovers. Prior laws required drivers to stop until pedestrians had safely crossed the vehicle’s lane. Now, drivers are required to stop and not move until the pedestrian has crossed the entire length of the street. This applies to any drivers as well as bicyclists and carries a fine of up to $500 and demerit points.

As of September 1, 2018, penalties increased for drivers who endangered pedestrians. These penalties included increases in fines and demerit points for any drivers who failed to yield to pedestrians as well as new penalties for those drivers who are convicted of careless driving causing a fatality or injury of a pedestrian.

Legal Burden of Proof After an Accident

Another legal change is in the burden of proof should an accident occur. The former general rule was that any person injured in an accident would have to prove negligence on the part of the other driver. This is no longer the case when the injured person was a pedestrian.

Now, when the victim is a pedestrian, the driver must prove that there was no negligence on their part. If it can be proven that the pedestrian was involved in activity that may have contributed to the accident, they can be determined partially or wholly responsible for causing the accident.

If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident, you should contact a North Bay personal injury lawyer to understand your rights. Call BLFON Personal Injury Lawyer to discuss your claim during a free consultation.