The death of 7 pedestrians in the past month within the GTA is nothing to laugh about.
However, as a former resident of Montréal, QC, I do have some thoughts as to the reason for why this has happened.
Let’s face it, for the most part, Torontonians are bullies when they drive.
In no other city do I hear people using their car horns as much as they use their cell phones. Drivers act like the road they’re driving on is meant for THEM and THEM alone, and common courtesy for anyone else not inside their vehicle is at their discretion. For them, those thirty seconds waiting at intersection is 30 seconds of their lives they will never be able to reclaim. The bane of their existence is that little old lady taking her sweet ass time crossing at the flashing crosswalk, or the chain of happy pre-schoolers all holding hands with one attendant at the head of the group, and another keeping an eye on the stragglers. Just who the heck do these people think they are, holding regular drivers up like that?
Next, Montréaler’s have to deal with snow on a regular basis in winter, and therefore although they may be suicidal in some of their driving habits (and they are), They do understand most of the winter driving basics when there’s snow on the ground.
Yes, Torontonians have had to deal with snow for the last few years, but that is more an exception to the rule. There have been far too many winters where I can recall coming to Toronto both as a child and adolescent, dressed for full winter warfare, only to find nothing but the bitter cold and dead grass. Fact is, in the December just prior to Winter Storm ‘99, I can recall roaming Toronto’s streets in shorts and a t-shirt.
Torontonians don’t really have a winter (as evidenced by the City’s lack of proper snow equipment), and this year, my guess is that because of the lack of snow and ice, it’s like their regular, overly aggressive driving habits have gone unchecked this season.
Moving on, let’s take a look at this silly policy of vehicles being allowed to turn right on a red light. ARE YOU PEOPLE INSANE?!!!! The City of Montreal briefly tried to embrace this policy, along with the rest of the Province of Quebec, but then nipped the idea within City of Montreal limits, due to far too many pedestrian related accidents.
This is not something I feel should be allowed with a major metropolitan city such as Toronto. It’s just not safe. There are too many cars, too many people. This turning right on the red is just not feasible anymore, and should be removed within City of Toronto limits.
Lastly, what is the City of Toronto’s problem with left hand turn signals at intersections? Did no one, when planning this City ever think that people, when driving, are not going to want to keep driving until they find a proper street to turn down on. As well, the 30 seconds that some intersection do allow for drivers to turn left, while keeping opposing traffic on hold, is ludicrous and insulting.
The GTA needs to take a serious look at some of their archaic driving and pedestrian policies, and get with the times.
Left turn lights at intersections, pedestrian overpasses or underpasses at crossings where there is far too much traffic, an end to the turn on right policy. These are just common sense, not radical ideas, and they are urgently required if we are going to get a handle on this on some of these senseless deaths.