City motions for traffic safety reforms admist string of pedestrian deaths

A recent spike in pedestrian fatalities in Toronto has ignited talks about public safety amongst members of city council. One of the latest incidents occurred on Tuesday near Wellington Street East and Scott Street at around 6:38 a.m. when an SUV driver struck and killed a 57-year-old pedestrian, then fled the scene.

According to Toronto Police Services, the vehicle was heading north on Scott Street when it mounted a curb and hit an indivual who was sleeping there. Emergency services transported the victim to the hospital, but they later died from their injuries. Police located the suspect shortly afterwards, with investigators crediting public assistance. 

Toronto police have not laid any charges yet, with investigations ongoing at the time of the writing of this piece. 

The tragedy occurred on the same day Councillor Mike Colle requested a detailed report on another recent pedestrian death at Dufferin and Eglinton from the general manager of transportation services.

“Yesterday, a pedestrian was killed after being struck by a dump truck turning left at Dufferin and Eglinton. This is the fourth pedestrian to be hit and killed by a dump truck in Midtown recently,” Colle wrote in a letter to the North York Community Council. 

Colle had already successfully rallied city council to support a motion asking the Federal Transportation Board to make it mandatory for dump trucks to have pedestrian motion sensor technology. He argued that the tech could help prevent similar accidents. However, there are challenges in making this a requirement, as the City of Toronto would need federal approval to enforce the measure.

“The City of Toronto has no authority to require dump trucks to have Motion Sensor Technology. I am therefore requesting a report on this fatal accident to better understand what measures the City can implement to improve pedestrian safety,” Colle added.

In another development that underscored the complexity of pedestrian safety issues in Toronto, an incident at Victoria Park Avenue and Cassandra Boulevard resulted in similarly tragic consequences. 

On Wednesday afternoon, a driver struck four people in the parking lot of a Toronto apartment building. This alarming event led to the death of one woman and the hospitalization of three other victims.

The shocking trend of pedestrian fatalities within the city and Councillor Colle’s letter demanding change could very well turn Toronto’s pedestrian safety problem into a federal issue. However, it’s worth noting that the latest data on pedestrian fatalities from Toronto police had them down year-over-year, dropping by 14.8 percent in 2022.

Data for this year has yet to be released.