Tips for pedestrians to remain safe when on the street - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers

Tips for pedestrians to remain safe when on the street


Pedestrians must share the streets and roadways in Toronto and other communities in Ontario with cars, trucks and other motorized vehicles posing a risk of injury or death when accidents occur. The number of pedestrians killed this year by motor vehicles is on pace to exceed deaths occurring in previous years. Protecting yourself from being injured requires an understanding of the risks faced by pedestrians as well as the responsibility imposed upon them to avoid conduct that could increase their risk of suffering an injury in a collision with a motor vehicle.

Vulnerable road users

By referring to them as “vulnerable road users,” the Canadian government recognizes that pedestrians, bicycle riders, motorcyclists and moped operators lack the protections of a steel frame, seat belts and airbags afforded the occupants of cars, trucks and similar motor vehicles. The need to protect pedestrians is evident in laws transferring the burden of proving negligence in cases in which injured pedestrians seek compensation after being struck by a vehicle.

As a general rule, the person injured in a car accident must prove the other driver was negligent in causing the collision. This, however, is not the rule when the victim is a pedestrian in Ontario. The personal injury lawyer representing an injured pedestrian must prove a collision occurred that caused the injuries. The law transfers the burden to the motorist to prove that he or she was not at fault in causing the collision by creating a presumption of negligence on the part of the driver. 

Pedestrians cannot benefit from their own negligence

The creation of a presumption that a driver is negligent when a pedestrian is the victim of a crash is not without its limitations. Courts will take into consideration the careless, reckless or negligent behaviour of a pedestrian that contributed to causing the accident in which the person was injured. As long as the evidence proves the driver was more at fault than the pedestrian, the pedestrian can be compensated, but the amount awarded to the person is reduced by his or her percentage of fault.

Types of behaviours that could establish fault on the part of a pedestrian in causing a collision with a motor vehicle include the following:

  • Crossing in the middle of a block instead of at a designated crosswalk or intersection with a traffic signal.
  • Crossing the street from between parked vehicles making it difficult to be seen by approaching drivers.
  • Walking along a road at night wearing dark clothing making it difficult to be seen by motorists.
  • Ignoring “do not walk” signs and traffic lights when crossing the street.
  • Failing to take the time at intersections and driveways to look out for turning vehicles.
  • Being distracted by texting or talking on a cellphone while crossing the street or walking along a roadway.
  • Wearing earbuds or other devices to listen to music while running or walking along the road with the volume set at levels making it impossible to hear approaching vehicles.

Parents can protect their children by teaching them how to safely cross the street and safe routes to take when walking to and from school. Routes without sidewalks should be avoided whenever possible.

Ontario personal injury lawyers

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond & Diamond have years of experience successfully handling claims for compensation on behalf of pedestrians injured due to the negligence of drivers. If you have been injured, you should speak to one of our lawyers. Call the Diamond & Diamond 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now. We offer free consultations and case evaluations to injury victims throughout Ontario.

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