The Traffic Injury Research Foundation reports that Canadians are not overly concerned about the behaviours and safety of pedestrians and bicyclists according to a public opinion poll. However, crash data and self-reported behaviour illustrate that concern is still warranted. “Pedestrians and bicyclists are among the most vulnerable of road users,” says Ward Vanlaar, TIRF researcher and lead author of the Road Safety Monitor series. “In collisions with other road users, they often suffer the most severe consequences because they have less protection from physical harm than occupants of vehicles.”
To illustrate, according to Transport Canada, in Canada in 2006, there were 374 pedestrian fatalities accounting for 12.9% of all road user fatalities and there were 73 bicyclists killed accounting for 2.5% of all road user fatalities.
“In terms of self-reported behaviour, both pedestrians and bicyclists admit to engaging in risky behaviours,” says Vanlaar. "According to the survey, almost a quarter of pedestrians indicated that they frequently jaywalk, 12.2% indicated that they frequently cross the street while listening to an mp3 player or CD-player, or using a cell phone, and 11.8% frequently cross at a crosswalk when a vehicle has the right of way.”