Road safety has emerged as a major issue in the Greater Toronto Area. This is one of the side-effects of the growth that this part of Canada has been experiencing in recent times and is likely to do so in the future as well.
The decline in road safety has been seen in both the growing number of pedestrian fatalities as well as collisions of vehicles. The local government has decided to act on this problem by launching a ‘Vision Zero’ road safety plan for 2017-2021 which aims to make the roads of this teeming metropolis safer.
Fatalities thanks to traffic accidents have gone up in recent years. In 2016, 77 people died due to road accidents. 43 of them were pedestrians, the largest segment. Not surprisingly then, the main focus of the authorities has been on making the roads safer for pedestrians. The overall strategy would involve using technology, educating people about road safety and stronger enforcement of laws.
When it comes to pedestrian safety, the authorities will identify those roads and zones which have been most accident-prone and take effective steps like reducing the crossing distance, enforcing speed regulations, protecting turning points etc. to bring down the casualty rate.
While this program was launched last year, this year too, the mayor and local administrators have taken strong steps to end the menace of road accidents. In March, the then Mayor John Tory unveiled some of the steps taken in this direction.
The same month also saw the councilors of Toronto vote in favor of similar measures to reduce the number of traffic accidents. One proposal though has generated diverse opinions. This is about creating lanes exclusively for bikes. The councilors want lanes for bikes while the mayor wants these lanes on a parallel street.
Whatever be the outcome of this debate, it is very reassuring that the local officials are tackling this problem head-on.