It’s a New Year. First Pedestrian struck on LaSalle Blvd.

Well, it won’t be announced with quite the same enthusiasm as the first baby born in Sudbury in 2018, but the police have reported that the first collision with a pedestrian of the year has occurred.

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It occurred at some point before 3:48pm on January 4, 2018 on LaSalle Blvd, near Somers Street. Judging by the account from the Sudbury Police twitter, the pedestrian who was struck is female human. But police felt it was really important that you know that one lane of LaSalle Blvd was blocked, but traffic in the other lane is flowing. They mentioned it twice and assured us they would let us know when the roadway was clear. What a relief!

Once they’re done letting us know when the roadway is clear, hopefully they’ll find time to let us know what happened, or if charges would be laid, or if the woman is going to have any long term quality of life impacts as a result of the collision.

No one who has been following this blog for a while will be surprised by the news that LaSalle Blvd was the location of the first collision with a pedestrian in 2018.

Last year 6 of the 19 collisions with pedestrians reported in the media occurred on LaSalle Blvd. In 2016 22% of collisions with pedestrians occurred on LaSalle Blvd, or on property on LaSalle, but we’ve never seen a report from the city that breaks down the nature of these collisions or makes recommendations on how to stop them.

Perhaps this will be part of the big visioning exercise for making LaSalle a more pedestrian-friendly environment, but these incidents don’t seem to be considered very important to the police or decision-makers at city hall.

What can we learn from today’s collision? Not much.

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Screenshot from the Map of Collisions with Pedestrians Reported in the Media.

Police said it happened “near” Somers Street, which could mean the pedestrian was crossing LaSalle mid-block, or it could mean she was just outside the crosswalk at Somers Street, but police described it as “near” to indicate that she did not have the right of way. Or maybe it means she was thrown some distance down LaSalle and at the time of this tweet police didn’t know where she started. Who knows. Will we ever find out?They almost never clarify these things.

Last month a transport truck killed a pedestrian somewhere between Balsam St and Big Nickel Mine Road. That’s a stretch of approximately 1.5 km. Police have indicated that the victims name won’t be released as requested by the family, but they haven’t even said if he was in the crosswalk at Balsam when it happened, on the shoulder, in the middle of the road or anything. They haven’t said if their investigation revealed the driver applied the brakes before the collision or if they attempted to avoid the man but were unable to.

In past years the number of charges laid related to collisions with pedestrians has been disconcertingly low, as if the vast majority of collisions occurred without anyone involved making a bad choice at all.

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Based on this data, in 2014 only 29% of collisions with pedestrians resulted in any charges being laid. In 2013 it was just 21%. Police haven’t released data for 2015 or 2016. (source)

It makes you wonder if police are really doing a thorough investigation into the causes of these collisions. Surely it can’t be possible that 52 people hit pedestrians in 2014 without anyone breaking the rules of the road. The rules are supposed to keep us safe, but this suggests that maybe everyone can follow the rules and still get hurt or killed by a driver. How could that be possible?

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