Toronto - Canada Walks, the leading champion for walking and walk-friendly communities, has hailed the new report on preventing pedestrian deaths released by Ontario’s Office of the Chief Coroner, calling it a breakthrough in efforts to create vibrant, safe and walk-friendly communities.
“It is gratifying to see the Office of the Chief Coroner address the important issue of pedestrian safety — and death and injury prevention in particular,” said Jacky Kennedy, Director of Canada Walks, a division of Green Communities Canada. “Every trip we take begins with a walk and a community is only as viable as the ability of its citizens to walk safely.”
Positive changes to improve the walking environment in towns and cities across Ontario have the potential to raise the mode share for active transportation significantly. With changes to the walking environment, the Netherlands has managed to increase the number of daily walking trips to 25 percent. Ontario and other Canadian provinces could aim for similar improvements, especially in densely populated areas, in order to raise the Canadian average of 11 percent. Reducing the risk of walking fatalities can save provinces money; according to Transport Canada, an active transportation trip saves Canadians $1.70 per kilometre travelled over the same distance travelled by car.
“When people feel safe in their communities, they are more likely to walk to nearby destinations, which is great for their health, the environment, the character and vitality of the community, and business,” noted Kennedy. “Encouraging walk-friendly outdoor environments not only reduces the risk of injury or death from vehicles, it helps to decrease the 21,000 Canadian deaths per year that result from sedentary lifestyles.