January 8, 2024
Mayor Dorothy McCabe Mayor Berry Vrbanovic
100 Regina Street South Kitchener City Hall
PO Box 337, Station Waterloo 200 King St., W., 2nd floor
Waterloo, ON N2J 4A8 Kitchener, ON N2G 4G7
Mayor Jan Liggett Chief Mark Crowell
50 Dickson Street Waterloo Regional Police Service
Cambridge, ON N1R 5W8 200 Maple Grove Road
Cambridge, ON N3H 5M1
150 Frederick St.,
Kitchener, ON N2G 4J3
RE: Pedestrians in Peril
This is a call to action. We are sounding the alarm. 18 pedestrians have been struck by drivers in Waterloo Region in 2 months, from November 4, 2023, to January 8, 2024. These represent only those reported by the media.
Another pedestrian, a senior citizen, was hit and seriously injured last night by a motorist.
As advocates for safe streets, cyclists, and pedestrians in the Waterloo Region, we appreciate the infrastructure changes and road safety initiatives we’ve seen in recent years. But the recent spate of pedestrian incidents demonstrates more needs to be done.
In Cambridge last Wednesday, four pedestrians were hit at a crosswalk at Conestoga Blvd. and Pinebush Road by a driver. Three of the pedestrians were injured. The driver was only charged with failure to yield.
When you use your automobile and dangerously hit four pedestrians, the idea that you escape with a paltry $110 - $300 fine speaks volumes to the indifference our society has towards victims of road violence. It reminds us of the importance of Vulnerable Road User legislation, recently voted down by the Conservative government.
Attached to this letter is a summary of the recent incidents involving pedestrians in Waterloo Region (Nov ‘23 - Jan ‘24). In the Waterloo Region, 69% of pedestrian incidents occurred at signalized intersections. In 2020, the Region saw 4715 collisions by motorists. 500 resulted in injury or death. 146 involved pedestrians or cyclists.
We again implore you to review this alarming string of motor vehicle collisions and refocus efforts aimed at keeping vulnerable road users safe, and curbing dangerous driving.
The Region of Waterloo and Province of Ontario must work together to:
Enact a public safety campaign aimed at motorists
Design intersections and roundabouts with lighted safety crossings, speed bumps and other features that prioritize pedestrian and cyclist safety
Explore automated enforcement options and deploy liberally
Provide safe and protected cycling infrastructure
Charge drivers with serious and multiple penalties for striking and injuring vulnerable road users, and support prosecutors in advancing those charges
Support and pass the Moving Ontarians More Safely Act
Connect and engage with local safe streets organizations (CycleWR), cycling clubs, bike shops, and community members
What is clear is that there is a serious issue on the streets of the Region of Waterloo. Motorists see driving as a right and not a privilege. The result is a huge cost on our families, communities, employers, and hospitals.
It is imperative that alongside the Waterloo Regional Police Service, we send a strong message to motorists who drive dangerously that this will not be tolerated, and dangerous driving will be punished. Our hope is that deterrence, along with infrastructure and attitude changes brought about by a frank and focused public discussion will make everyone safer in the Region.
By not acting, we are signaling to dangerous motorists that this kind of behaviour is acceptable. We suspect the message received by the injured people, their families and all vulnerable road users is that their safety is of little concern.
We would be happy to discuss road safety as advocates for injured people and look forward to your reply.
David Shellnutt Janice Jim
Managing Partner & Advocate Cycle Waterloo Region Board Member