Around this time of the year, our law firm receives a noticeable spike in pedestrian collision claims. These are the sort of cases where somebody is trying to cross the street (on foot), and they get hit by a car, or some other sort of motor vehicle (even a bike).
What explains the spike is anybody’s guess. But, it would make sense that near the end of October we get less daylight, making visibility more difficult for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike. We also have some worse weather which can lead to visibility issues as well. And who can forget the Halloween Holiday, whereby residential streets are flooded with trick or treaters in full blown costume.
At the time of preparing the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog Post, at least 12 pedestrians were hit by cars around the General Toronto Area during the commuting periods. Some new outlets have the number as high as 16 pedestrian collisions throughout the course of the day. That’ a lot! Police are attributing this spike to poor visibility on account of decreased daylight and bad weather. This was one of the first days of the fall where the weather was rather cold, damp and dark.
Scary because Halloween is right around the corner and you get the sneaking suspicion that people can’t drive safely anymore? Scary because you get the feeling that motorists don’t have respect for other motorists, cyclists or pedestrians? I know the feeling. Adding insult to injury is that the penalties handed out by our Courts following a breach of the Highway Traffic Act are akin to slaps on the wrist. A few demerit points, a license suspension, a fine. None of these penalties are proportional to the devastating impact a serious car accident can have on an innocent accident victim and their family.
There are a lot of young parents who read the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog. Having a young family of my own, I want to share with you some of Goldfinger Personal Injury Law’s top tips on how to keep Halloween safe when you’re outside trick or treating this holiday season. If the recent trend of motorists colliding with pedestrians continues, I’m certain you can use these tips. I’ll do my best to give you some out of the box tips you may not have even thought of aside from the usual ones you may see in other media online.
- Hoods are BAD. Although really cool, really fashionable, uber popular and somewhat warm, beware of wearing the hood of hoodie. When they’re on your head, you have ZERO peripheral vision. You won’t be able to see or to properly see on coming traffic and any dangers approaching from the side. You have tunnel vision limited straight ahead of you on account of the hood. You will also have difficulty making eye contact with a motorist to determine whether or not it’s safe to cross. Hood = cool, but dangerous. I apologize to all those in the fashion industry who make hooded products.
- Don’t walk and text/email. It’s still amazes me how many pedestrians I see walking in both urban and suburban settings with their heads down, walking, totally zoned in on their smart phones without any appreciation for what’s going on around them. It doesn’t matter if it’s downtown London, ON, or a side street in Peterborough, ON; people are GLUED to their phones and completely oblivious to any oncoming hazards. Street lights, stop signs, end of the sidewalk are all tossed aside in favour of contents on the smartphone. In the words on Don Cherry; “Keep your head up“
- For Halloween, we favour face paint over masks. With masks, your children may have the same peripheral vision problem as wearing a hood. Face paint shouldn’t impact your child’s peripheral vision. Perhaps it’s a bit more messy, but it can also be more fun as well.
- Reflectors aren’t just for bikes anymore. What’s good for a bike at night is also good for your young trick or treater. Reflective gear, reflectors, mini flashing lights, even glow sticks all work to increase your child’s visibility when they are out in the evening trick or treating. Some shoes even have reflectors built in. You can buy flashing lights for shoes at your local bike store or running store as well! These are all fun ideas which will also improve the safety of your children. The more that helps to improve visibility the better.
- Dark costumes are cool and can be scary, but they aren’t safe. The better your child’s visibility for drivers and other pedestrians a like the better.
- Think of trick or treating as a long hike. Would you dress your children in long flowing costume which presents a tripping hazard for a nature walk? Probably not. So don’t do the same for Halloween.
- The buddy system works! In addition to having parent supervision for trick or treating, match your kids up with a “buddy” and make sure that they are with their “buddy” at all times during the candy hunt. Don’t let anyone go off alone. It’s a recipe for disaster.
- Start early. End early. Get in as much day light as possible, because we’re losing it fast. The darker the conditions, the lower the visibility; and the greater chance that motorists can’t see you or your children out when they’re trick or treating.
Enough law talk? Sure. I would like to congratulate the Toronto Blue Jays on a fantastic playoff run. How they ended the season was very disappointing, particularly for people who have played baseball. Being unable to cash in a runner on 3rd base with nobody out is unacceptable for a Major League Baseball team. That’s just poor fundamental baseball. Regardless; the Toronto Blue Jay playoff run made me realize how much Toronto, Ontario and Canada have missed meaningful baseball over the past 22 years. We have been deprived of a fantastic and dramatic sport. I hope the brain trust at Rogers realizes that producing a winning team is a win-win-win and that they continue to invest in the team. Even better is that it distracted the entire city of Toronto away from their woeful hockey team. GoPetesGo (off to a great start of the season in Peterborough).