Walking the talk:

Pedestrian safety is the focus for the 2013 UN Global Road Safety Week (May 6-12)

May 9, 2013

Every year more than 270,000 pedestrians lose their lives on the world's roads, while millions more are left with injuries or permanent disabilities. By international comparison, Canadian roads are quite safe yet 296 pedestrians died in 2010, according to Transport Canada. Ontario’s roads rank among the safest roads in the world, yet 95 pedestrians were killed in the same year with more than 4,000 injured, as per Ministry of Transportation statistics.  Pedestrian injuries and fatalities take a heavy financial and social toll on the individuals themselves, as well as their families.

“Pedestrian injuries continue to be an issue in our region, with children being particularly vulnerable to these types of injuries.  More London and Middlesex children and adolescents were severely injured as a pedestrian than any other position within the vehicle, accounting for 37% of our pediatric patients severely injured in a motor vehicle traffic collision over the past 5 years.   The Trauma Program, Children’s Hospital, LHSC is committed to continue our efforts to reduce the risk of pedestrian injuries to children and teens”, said Dr. Neil Merritt, Associate Pediatric Medical Director, Trauma Program, LHSC.

The Decade of Action for Road Safety was launched in 2011, by the UN General Assembly in a strategic effort to mobilize all countries around the issue of road safety and reduce the number of fatalities and injuries incurred on global roads. The Second UN Global Road Safety Week (May 6-12, 2013), will draw attention to the urgent need to better protect pedestrians worldwide, generate action on the measures needed to do so, and contribute to achieving the goal of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.

Over the past 5 years there were 59 residents of London/Middlesex who were severely injured as pedestrians and treated at London Health Sciences Centre.  In London/Middlesex there were a total of 177 injuries to pedestrians in the same time period. In response to the need for better pedestrian safety education and awareness, The City of London and Middlesex County in combination with London Health Sciences Centre’s Trauma program, Middlesex London Health Unit, London Police Services, Ontario Provincial Police, CAA and the Ministry of Transportation are developing a Road Safety Strategy with the vision of a path to a safer road environment for all transportation users in London. One of the top 6 road safety concerns (based on fatal/injury related crash data) is pedestrian safety and will be a focus of the strategy.  There will be the development of countermeasures to address this road safety issue.