The nearest crosswalk is a good distance away, so you decide to wait for an opening in traffic and run across the street. Timing your run across two lanes of opposing traffic proves difficult, but you take your chance as soon as you think it is safe. You make it across the first lane of traffic but stop when you realize that traffic in the other lane is moving faster than you had anticipated. Unable to finish crossing or turn back, you are stuck in the middle of the road, with cars speeding by you on both sides.
Active road users like pedestrians and cyclists are at an increased risk of fatal or severe injury in the event of a collision with a motor vehicle. Modern vehicle safety features can help lower the overall risks facing vulnerable road users, however these benefits can only be realized if drivers and vulnerable road users alike do not become over- reliant on those safety features. For instance, the Traffic Injury Research Foundation’s (TIRF) 2011 national survey of Canadian drivers revealed that many drivers would drive less safely if they knew that their vehicles were equipped with modern safety features like electronic stability control and brake assist. Many of these risky driving behaviours including speeding, distracted driving, and tailgating have direct negative consequences for the overall safety of active road users.
Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) (2013). Countermeasures to Improve Pedestrian Safety in Canada.
European Road Safety Observatory (ERSO) (2006). Pedestrians & Cyclists. European Commission, Directorate-General Transport and Energy.
Goldenbeld, C., Houtenbos, M., Ehlers, E., De Waard, D. (2012). “The use and risk of portable electronic devices while cycling among different age groups”. Journal of Safety Research, 43(1): pp. 1-8.
Heinonen, J. A., & Eck, J. E. (2007). Pedestrian Injuries and Fatalities. US Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) (2008). Pedestrians – general. Washington, DC.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) (2013a). Traffic Safety Facts: Pedestrians. Washington, DC.
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Road Safety Canada Consulting (2011). Road Safety in Canada. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Public Works and Government Services.
Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) (2013). Alcohol-Crash Problem in Canada: 2010. CCMTA Road Safety Report Series. Ottawa, ON.
Transport Canada (2015). Canadian Motor Vehicle Traffic Collision Statistics 2013. Government of Canada.
Van Houten, R., Ellis, R., Marmolejo, E. (2008). Stutter-flash light-emitting diode beacons to increase yielding to pedestrians as crosswalks. In: Pedestrians. Transportation Research Record 2073: pp. 69-78.