Community members say more could be done to prevent pedestrian/vehicle accidents ahead of crosswalk safety awareness day

DARTMOUTH – The overall numbers of pedestrian/motor vehicle collisions so far this year are down, but there are still far too many occurring, and one crosswalk safety group says not enough is being done.

So far this year to the end of September there have been 113 collisions involving a motor vehicle and a pedestrian, that’s a 25 per cent drop from last year, but it’s still too high.

With the second annual Crosswalk Safety Awareness Day coming up this week, some community members say more could be done by drivers and pedestrians to reduce the number of collisions that happen.

Norm Collins started the Safety Flag Program on Waverley Road a year ago. It’s expanded to 44 locations in Halifax and Dartmouth. He says the city’s Crosswalk Safety Advisory Committee recommended a sign, but staff haven’t acted on it.

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“A stop, look, live pedestrian stop sign we call it,” Collins said. “The idea would be to post this on the crosswalk post facing the pedestrians. Perhaps out of the corner of their eye they could see this sign. They could stop and pay a little more attention.”

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Councillor Gloria McCluskey is on the Crosswalk Safety Advisory Committee. She she agrees with Collins.

“We haven’t made any progress in my mind,” she said. “Every day people are being struck. My sister was struck a week ago today in a crosswalk.”

That collision took place at the intersection of Slayter Street and Woodland Avenue in Dartmouth. The driver was fined 600 dollars says McCluskey while her 83-year-old sister has 3-broken bones in her leg.

“The driver said get up, so I can move my car,” said McCluskey, relaying what happened when her sister was struck. “She said ‘I can’t, my leg is broken.'”

Crosswalk Safety Awareness Day takes place this Wednesday. There will be several groups at crosswalks throughout the region holding up signs saying, “Heads up Halifax.”

“There are handouts, things like these mitts that will be given to pedestrians that come by. This is an opportunity to increase awareness,” Collins said.

Hopefully with that, there will be fewer collisions involving pedestrians and motor vehicles.

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Another factor that impacts pedestriam/vehicle collisions is the Daylight Savings Time time changes. Each year when the clocks go back, the city sees a spike in the number of collisions that occur.

“We do like to remind pedestrians to stay alert – keep their heads up,” said Const. Stacey Opalka of the Halifax Regional Police. She also notes whether or not crosswalks are marked, a pedestrian has the right of way at all intersections.

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