Three bicycle accidents in Halifax in short order show that if we really want to reduce accidents and increase active transport, we need to equip our urban streets to meet the needs of cyclists and pedestrians first and foremost, writes Martyn WIlliams.
“Halifax downtown needn’t be about meeting the needs of traffic flow first, pedestrians second,” writes Martyn Williams. Now that federal funding will drastically reduce truck traffic downtown it’s time to revisit the Cogswell design plans and do it right this time.
Martyn Williams: “The accident near 350 Pleasant Street marks the fifth pedestrian fatality in our municipality in just over a year, and the fifth hit and run involving a pedestrian in just two months. We need to know that addressing the danger and death on our roads is a priority for all our levels of government, not just in words, but also in the city’s budget.”
Martyn Williams weighs in on Halifax Council’s budget deliberations: “We already know that our roads cannot be made safe simply by asking people to take more care. However incidents can be reduced by introducing proven infrastructure safety countermeasures that ensure the protection of vulnerable road users is our first and foremost priority on our roads.”
Martyn Williams writes, “Our lack of consideration for the needs of people travelling on foot has come into sharp focus yet again with the tragic loss of a local resident who was walking across the Beaverbank Connector from local services to his home.”
Martyn Williams continues his common sense campaign to increase safety for pedestrians, wheelchair users and cyclists. “Road users need infrastructure which does not let them down and allows them to complete their journeys safely and without injury to themselves and others. With the rate of incidents we have on our roads per day, we need the budget and will to make that happen now.”
We have seen seven accidents where cars hit pedestrians since last Friday, two of those incidents happened on well-mrked crosswalks. “How important is making sure pedestrians are fully protected at crosswalks versus the need for traffic flow? My view is that improving or maintaining traffic flow at any location is not worth a single life-affecting injury or death. When a friend or family member is hit and is injured, that priority becomes very clear,” writes Martyn Williams.
In Nova Scotia pedestrians and cyclists are particularly vulnerable to accidents. It doesn’t need to be that way, writes Martyn Williams. There are things we can do beyond increasing some fines, other countries have done so, and it is paying off.
How many more pedestrians must be hit before our municipality acts and we reduce bloodshed on our streets? Martyn Williams offers up three simple solutions that will save lives.
Lower speed limits, although not a panacea, mean fewer accidents, and fewer pedestrian deaths. Both City and Province agree that lowering speeds is a positive move, yet a standoff about jurisdictional authority is stopping implementation. “Not at all satisfactory for parents who need to head off to work before their children walk to school alone, or for the pedestrians regularly hit on our crosswalks,” writes Martyn Williams