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Collisions on Edmonton streets trending in right direction: city report

The dual traffic lights installed at 102 Avenue and 125 Street in Edmonton are intended to prevent conflict between cyclists and drivers.
The dual traffic lights installed at 102 Avenue and 125 Street in Edmonton are intended to prevent conflict between cyclists and drivers. Dave Carels/Global News

The City of Edmonton’s Office of Traffic Safety has released its 2018 numbers showing there were 24,000 collisions in the city last year, virtually the same number as the year before.

However the good news in that is the severity is down.

“If you take into account our population, we did see a decrease in collisions per capita. But overall the number is fairly stable,” said senior research co-ordinator Laura Thue.

The most significant drop was there were 19 traffic fatalities compared to 27 the year before, while injuries are down in several categories.

READ MORE: Vision Zero report shows fewest traffic fatalities and injuries since Edmonton program began

Compared to 2017, collisions involving pedestrians declined by 7.4 per cent, collisions involving cyclists declined by 9.1 per cent and collisions involving motorcycles declined by 7.1 per cent.

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Thue said it’s a continuation of a trend that took hold when the city started using electronic speed indicators.

“We found from the public that those are really popular,”she said. “People really appreciate having those in place to let them know when they’re travelling above the speed limit. It gives them a chance to react and correct their speed.

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In that time, there’s been a 21 per cent decrease in pedestrian injuries, 29 per cent decrease in cyclist injuries and a 26 per cent decrease in motorcyclist injuries.

“We’ve also seen over the last year quite a decline in the number of automated enforcement tickets that have been distributed,” Thue said.

The report is used as a starting point for traffic engineers to assess problem spots and find remedies to improve safety.

READ MORE: Winnipeg not the only prairie city grappling with speed limits: Edmonton safety advocate

City council continues to push for improvements. Councillor Andrew Knack, in a text message, said that engineers will have to “prioritize existing resources for locations” since photo radar revenue is down.

Those methods include left turn only signals, right turn redesigns of intersections and pedestrian signals and crosswalks.

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“With the pedestrian crossings, it would certainly be more rapid flashing beacons, and upgrading the crossings wherever we can with lights and where it’s warranted,” Thue said.

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Motorcycle advocates urge safety precautions after fatal crashes
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Fatalities and serious injuries were most often caused by following too closely, the report said. Tuesdays and Wednesdays saw the most pedestrian fatal and injury collisions with 47 each day, barely edging out Friday with 45. We seem to be the most careful during the work week on Thursdays with 30.

It’s expected the list of priority intersections will likely be released in the fall or by the end of the year.