“Too many people are dying on our streets,” said former Chief City Planner and current mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat as she unveiled her ambitious road safety plan this September. The statement, though inflammatory, is one with which most Toronto personal injury lawyers would agree: according to the Toronto Star, 26 pedestrians and four cyclists have already been killed in the city in 2018.
This year’s mayoral race, which pits Keesmaat against incumbent John Tory, has been defined by a diverse slate of issues, including affordable housing, transit investment, and gun violence. Road safety has also been a persistent talking point: as the city grows, proactive measures must be taken to reduce death and serious injuries, particularly among vulnerable road users.
Mayor Tory has pledged to preserve the city’s existing Vision Zero strategy, for which council recently approved an additional $22-million in funding, bringing total funding to $105-million over five years. But Keesmaat and various road safety advocates have accused Tory of inaction and political cowardice.
“He keeps failing to reduce death and injury on Toronto’s streets. And when he’s called on it he gets into his avuncular mode, reassuring voters that something will be done to make it all better before long,” Graham Larkin, executive director for Vision Zero Canada, told the CBC. “But too often these are timid and pointless measures, like posting Slow Down for Kids signs.”
Keesmaat’s road safety strategy includes transforming 100 of Toronto’s most dangerous intersections, redesigning streets and sidewalks near schools, adopting Vision Zero standards when rebuilding infrastructure, and reducing speed limits to 30 kilometres per hour on residential streets.
“These are big moves, focusing on essential, failsafe measures like traffic calming and intersection design,” said Larkin. “This would require serious investment of time and money in the short term, but there would be savings of money as well as lives in the future.”
For Toronto personal injury lawyers who work with car accident victims on a daily basis, road safety is a critical election issue. Infrastructure investment and reduced speed limits aren’t sexy proposals, but their efficacy in reducing road violence is proven and well worth their political risks.
If you or a member of your family has been injured in a motor vehicle collision, contact a car accident lawyer at Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to learn how we can help. Our experienced team of Toronto personal injury lawyers can assess the viability of your claim and provide guidance and advice as you pursue compensation.
Image credit: The City of Toronto/Flickr
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