‘Be Alert, Be Seen’ campaign aims to curb pedestrian fatalities

By Fil Martino, 680 NEWS

Thirty-five pedestrians have been killed in Toronto so far this year, prompting the launch of a new provincial safety campaign.

Toronto police have teamed up with Sunnybrook Health Sciences, the Ministry of Transportation and CAA for the “Be Alert, Be Seen” campaign.

Const. Clint Stibbe with Toronto Traffic Services said the number of pedestrians killed this year is staggering.

“We have a city of three-and-a-half million people, every one of these collisions was avoidable. All that was required was that that pedestrian be seen and the driver maybe not make a mistake,” he said.

The campaign will focus on encouraging pedestrians, cyclists and drivers to pay attention, be visible and follow traffic safety rules.

One way pedestrians are encouraged to be more visible is to wear reflective toques and scarves.

“Every road user – driver, cyclist, pedestrian – has a responsibility to themselves (and) to each other to make sure that we are getting from point A to point B safely,” Transportation Minister Stephen Del Duca said.

But not everyone is on board with the campaign.

Dylan Reid and Maureen Coyle with the group Walk Toronto feel the campaign is just a bandage solution that doesn’t address the real issues facing pedestrians.

“It diverts attention away (from) the real issues on the road which are much more complex than wearing a bright scarf for a pedestrian,” Coil explained.

“We know for a fact that in two-thirds of cases where pedestrians are hit, they’re obeying the rules of the road, they have the right of way, and it’s driver inattention behaviour that has caused the accident,” said Reid.

The campaign will run throughout the month of November.

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