Friends and family of road violence victims call for end to traffic fatalities and serious injuries
Update: Thank you to everyone that joined us. View photos from the press event here.
On June 15th, friends and family of road violence victims gathered at Nathan Phillips Square to call on City Council for an end to traffic-related fatalities and severe injuries. Council is set to vote on the new Road Safety Plan, which includes a mere 20% reduction goal in traffic fatalities and injuries over ten years. Families and friends of crash victims say this isn’t enough, and are calling on the City of Toronto to adopt a bold Vision Zero policy, which would commit to achieving zero traffic-related deaths and severe injuries on Toronto's streets by 2026.
Speakers at press conference included:
David Stark, whose wife Erica was struck by a vehicle and killed while walking at Midland Ave and Gilder Rd in Scarborough
Kasia Briegmann-Samson, whose husband Tom was struck by a vehicle and killed while riding his bicycle at Davenport Rd and Lansdowne Ave
Yu Li, whose friend Zhiyong Kang was struck by a vehicle and killed while riding a bicycle along Finch Ave in North York.
All of these tragedies were preventable. Vision Zero is an established strategy to eliminate all preventable fatalities and severe injuries from traffic-related collisions, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for everyone.
“Lower driving speeds, better designed intersections, consistent traffic enforcement, dedicated and protected space for driving, walking, and cycling - a focus on the safety of people. These are among the strategies already employed elsewhere to reach a goal of reducing traffic-related death and serious injury to zero,” said Maureen Coyle, a member of Walk Toronto’s Steering Committee.
Vision Zero recognizes that while we all make mistakes, they do not have to be fatal. By redesigning our roadways, we can take what would have been a fatality and turn it into a minor collision that people can survive.
“This isn’t a call to arms against cars. People and vehicles need to and can coexist. It’s about recognizing misaligned priorities,” said Meghan Sherwin, Executive Director of Safe Streets Kids at Play. “We, the residents of the City of Toronto and our elected leaders, must prioritize the safety of our citizens and, by extension, our communities. We can no longer neglect our most vulnerable residents in order to facilitate the movement of vehicles.”
The City of Toronto must overhaul its Road Safety Plan to include the goal of zero traffic related fatalities and serious injuries by 2026.
“64 people died in traffic collisions last year on Toronto’s streets,” said Jared Kolb, Executive Director of Cycle Toronto. “If that many people died in a plane crash in Toronto would we say ‘well, accidents happen’? No, we'd declare a state of emergency. Vision Zero is long overdue”
In 2014, New York adopted a 10 year goal to eliminate traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries by 2024, and their policy is already showing success in increased road safety
Average number of annual pedestrian collisions in Toronto (2005-2014): 2,142
Average number of annual pedestrian fatalities in Toronto (2005-2014): 27
2015 pedestrian fatalities: 38
Average number of cyclist collisions (2005-2014): 1,232
Walk Toronto is a grassroots pedestrian advocacy group that works with various levels of government and private property owners to improve walking conditions and safety in Toronto.
Cycle Toronto is a diverse, member-supported organization that advocates for a healthy, safe, cycling-friendly city for all, and pursues evidence-based transportation options to make cycling a viable option for all Torontonians.
Steering Committee Member, Walk Toronto
Executive Director, Cycle Toronto