There’s no doubting the fact that pedestrian and cyclist safety is always at risk. At the beginning of July, it took less than 24 hours for collisions to involve 18 pedestrians and cyclists. Unfortunately, avoidable tragedies like this happen much too often in our city and we see the ramifications of it on our end of the spectrum. The main problem? Lack of safety knowledge and too many distractions. We’ve talked to our experts and come up with everything you need to know to stay safe and have fun, whether you’re on feet, two wheels, or four all summer long.

Understand the new laws

As of January 1, 2016, the Ontario Government implemented a new law that states all drivers must stop and yield the whole roadway at: pedestrian crossover and at school crossings with a crossing guard. This means that as a driver, you are required to wait until pedestrians have crossed the entire crossway before continuing to accelerate.

The goal here is to protect pedestrians that are at danger crossing traffic without anything to protect them from bodily harm.

Put your best foot forward

As a pedestrian there’s lots you can do to ensure you and your family are always in the right. Not only will this keep you safe, it will ensure you’re void of liability in the unfortunate case of an accident.

  • Always use designated walking areas:

Drivers cannot expect the unexpected. It’s crucial that if you’re walking and crossing traffic, you still to the crosswalks, crossovers and sidewalks that are available to you.

  • Watch your technology:

Distracted Walking is becoming a problem. As you may have heard, a ban against walking and texting may soon become reality. It’s pretty simple, when your sense of sight is focused on your device, your eyesight (and hearing) are bound to take second place.

  • Be alcohol aware: Driving after drinking is not the only life-threatening thing you can do. As part of our practice, we see countless pedestrian accidents that have happened because they have had one too many drinks and their judgement was affected.

 Cycling Safety

As a cyclist, you have a big job to avoid the unexpected and follow road rules. Here’s some of the main ones you should make sure to follow:

  • Always ride in designated bike lanes:

Not many people realize, but cyclists are not supposed to be using pedestrian crossways and crossovers.  The reason is simple; motorists are not expecting cyclists to be using these crossways at higher speeds. It’s much more difficult for a driver to stop and avoid a cyclist than it is to avoid a walking pedestrian.

  • Always wear a helmet:

It’s essential that you wear a proper helmet when riding; it can really make the difference between travel and tragedy when you need it most. Don’t just wear a helmet; wear it right!

  • Watch your technology:

Traveling at higher speeds means that listening to music or speaking on a wireless device is even more threatening. Many cycling injury cases occur because cyclists can’t hear their surroundings. How can you suddenly avoid a honking vehicle if you can’t hear it?

Check your insurance

As of June 1, 2016, big changes were made to auto insurance policies that greatly reduced certain coverages. For example, medical + rehabilitation and attendant care coverage reduced from 2 million to 1 million. For significant injuries, this coverage reduction can be extremely detrimental to the ability of you having a full recovery.

Even if you don’t drive, this policy coverage reduction affects you. If you are a pedestrian and get in an unfortunate accident, the harsh truth is that $1 million of coverage for medical rehabilitation and attendant care doesn’t necessarily go very far.

The good news is for the price of only a few cups of coffee a week, you can double your coverage and ensure that if anything did ever occur, you and your loved ones will have optimal coverage.

For more information regarding how you can upgrade your insurance coverage, contact your auto insurance provider.

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