Stay safe this Spring

driver in car stops for pedestrians in crosswalk

As we finally start to break free from the cold, dark days of winter, many people are anxious to get outdoors, get active and enjoy the nicer weather.

It is important to be very mindful of safety as we look to hop into our cars to go on road-trips, or hit the streets on our bicycles, scooters or motorcycles. It is also important that we be mindful of our safety as pedestrians.

Unfortunately, many pedestrians are distracted as they walk along. Headphone, EarPod and cell phone usage by pedestrians have been found to be contributing factors in increasing the likelihood of a collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian. This demonstrates the importance of remaining aware of our surroundings as we begin to run or walk outdoors. This includes keeping our music volume at an acceptable level to allow us to hear approaching traffic, vehicle horns, or other audible warnings. This also includes not walking with our heads down – oblivious to our surroundings – while looking down at our text messages.

From a legal liability standpoint, the Ontario Highway Traffic Act imposes a reverse onus on a driver who strikes a pedestrian on a public roadway. This means that the driver is presumed to be negligent unless he/she can prove otherwise. That said, the Courts have found that pedestrians have an obligation to exercise care for their own safety and act reasonably and prudently; otherwise, they may be found to have contributed to their own loss.

The vast majority of pedestrian injuries and deaths are preventable. You should always be aware of what’s going on around you and keep a proper lookout, even if you have the right of way as a pedestrian. You may be doing everything right as a pedestrian, but you cannot always count on the other person – driving a vehicle which can seriously injure or kill you – is also doing everything right. It is up to you to stay safe, so stay safe this spring!

Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Ottawa can help you with your Personal Injury Claim.