Accident Involving Stroller Raises Concerns About Pedestrian Accidents

On November 13, 2016, the Ottawa Citizen reported that a car struck a stroller holding an seventh-month old girl on Bank street. A witness to the accident wrote to the Ottawa Citizen, alleging that the infant’s father was pushing the stroller when a seemingly impatient driver turned left, believing they could get across the intersection ahead of the pedestrians, and clipped the stroller, sending the child flying. The witness also commented that they regularly cross that section of road with their young child and that it is difficult to get across in the time provided. According to the Ottawa Citizen, the child suffered minor injuries and was taken to the CHEO as a precaution.

Unfortunately, pedestrian-vehicle accidents occur all too frequently.  In Ottawa, September was a particularly dangerous month for pedestrians.  On September 6, 2016, a 56-year-old Ottawa woman was struck by a car in the Findlay Creek neighbourhood, and was taken to hospital with upper body injuries and arm fractures. During the late evening of September 17, a 20-year-old man was struck by a vehicle while crossing King Edward Avenue at Laurier Avenue.  The next day, a 26-year-old woman sustained a serious head injury after she was struck by a vehicle in the Glebe.  Finally, on September 22, a 19-year-old man was struck by a vehicle on Riverside Drive near Industrial Avenue in the early evening; paramedics reported that he was found without vital signs, but was revived before being taken to hospital with critical injuries. 

Pedestrian-vehicle accidents are almost always preventable. In a recently-conducted review of pedestrian deaths in Ontario, the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario found that, in the majority of pedestrian fatalities, the driver likely did not take due care to avoid hitting the pedestrian. In about one-third of the pedestrian deaths studied, the pedestrian’s actions were believed to have contributed to or caused their injury.

The following factors are associated with the majority of pedestrian fatalities, according to the Chief Coroner’s report.

  • Driver fails to yield to a pedestrian when the pedestrian has the right of way (particularly when a vehicle is turning right or left at an intersection)
  • Driver is going too fast 
  • Driver is distracted or inattentive to other road users
  • Pedestrian is distracted or inattentive 
  • Impaired driver or pedestrian
  • Pedestrian fails to adhere to traffic rules
  • Advanced age or disability

Pedestrians are clearly far more vulnerable to injury than vehicle occupants in a pedestrian-vehicle collision.  For this reason, there is a greater onus on drivers to exercise caution around pedestrians.  A pedestrian’s right of way is set out in section 144 of Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act; however, the potential for catastrophic injury to a pedestrian means that all road users should exercise caution whether or not they perceive themselves to be in the right.

Who has the right of way – pedestrians or motorists?

  • A motorist entering the road from a driveway or from a private road must yield to any pedestrians on the sidewalk
  • At an intersection where pedestrians can lawfully cross, drivers who are turning right or right must always yield to pedestrians
  • If a pedestrian is crossing at a pedestrian crossover, the driver must stop and remain so until the pedestrian is all the way across
  • Drivers are not allowed to pass another vehicle within 30 meters of a pedestrian crossover.
  • Pedestrians have the right of way at intersections with a circular green indicator light or ‘walk’ signal
  • Pedestrians who lawfully began crossing still have the right of way if the light changes before they have fully crossed
  • Pedestrians should not cross at an intersection if the traffic light is amber, “don’t walk”, red, or indicates advanced green for turning vehicles

In recognition of the common causes of pedestrian-motorist accidents, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation offers advice for pedestrians and drivers.

Tips for pedestrians

  • Cross only at traffic lights and intersections, not in the middle of a block
  • Wait until the driver sees you before crossing
  • When walking at night or dusk, wear bright or reflective clothing
  • At traffic lights, cross only when traffic has fully stopped and when the light indicates green or “walk”
  • Monitor for traffic leaving driveways and turning at intersections

Tips for drivers

  • Check carefully for pedestrians and cyclists before making a turn
  • Never speed in school and residential zones, and watch for children
  • Be patient, particularly when seniors or persons with disabilities are crossing
  • Always check carefully behind you before backing out of your driveway or a parking spot
  • Monitor for pedestrians near bus and streetcar stops

If you were injured in a pedestrian accident and would like to learn more about your legal rights and whether you have a legitimate claim for damages, call an experienced personal injury lawyer at Burn Tucker Lachaîne. We invite you to contact us to find out about your best legal options for seeking compensation.


By Burn Tucker Lachaîne Personal Injury Lawyers on November 18, 2016
Tags: Car Accidents, Negligence, Pedestrian accidents, Personal Injury, Safety