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  • Writer's pictureDave Shellnutt

Waterloo Region: Pedestrians in Peril

Updated: Jan 9







Dave Shellnutt

800.725.0754

dave@thebikinglawyer.ca

www.thebikinglawyer.ca




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

Karen Redman

Regional Chair

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

  • 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.

 

Sincerely,

                                               

David Shellnutt                                              Janice Jim

Managing Partner & Advocate                      Cycle Waterloo Region Board Member


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