Speed limits lowering around Weston / Mount Dennis

We get outraged whenever a murder takes place in our city, yet people driving cars kill a similar number of Torontonians each year. Part of the problem is that our city has been designed to favour the automobile. Most cities in Europe have extensive traffic-free zones where pedestrians can walk without worrying about traffic.

A quiet Sunday afternoon in the Spanish city of Cartagena. Traffic free streets like this are common in Europe. Incidentally (and completely off topic), notice the lack of overhead wiring and also the use of mid-rise apartment buildings to achieve density.

Cars have been heavily redesigned over the years to protect the occupants in the case of a collision. Nothing is on the outside to help an unfortunate pedestrian or cyclist who is struck by a car.

The old expression goes, “Speed kills”. Logic tells us that the faster a car goes, the greater the impact in a collision. What most of us don’t realize is that thanks to the laws of physics, a car travelling at 6o km/h is almost twice as likely to kill a pedestrian or cyclist as one going at 50 km/h.

Pedestrian and cyclist risks when hit by a car. Data from aaafoundation.org

With greater speed, longer reaction times are needed and braking distance increases.

This Australian video illustrates the dangers of low level speeding.

As part of Vision Zero, a city-wide push to target the huge number of deaths and injuries on Toronto streets, some speed limits across the city are about to be lowered. The ones in our immediate vicinity are:

  • Dixon Road from Highway 427 to Royal York Road – Reduced from 60 km/h to 50 km/h
  • Rogers Road from Weston Road to Old Weston Road – Reduced from 50 km/h to 40 km/h

In addition, pedestrian crossing times will be lengthened at certain intersections.

All of us are vulnerable pedestrians; let’s think that way when we’re driving.