During the Timmins Police Services Board meeting of August 24, 2017, Chief John Gauthier presented motor vehicle collision (MVC) statistics from January – June 2017. These statistics indicated a 17% decrease in MVCs from this period in 2016. While this is definitely a positive trend, pedestrian collisions have increased in number from 2016. This is concerning, and police would like to issue a reminder to drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and anyone else using the roadways.
The importance of sharing the road safely is being emphasized in light of students returning to school next week. Drivers may see an increase in pedestrian and cyclist traffic, especially in the mornings and late afternoons. Drivers are reminded to come to a complete stop at all intersections, and be aware of pedestrians, especially when turning. Drive slowly through school zones and residential areas, or anywhere that children could be playing. Exercising patience is also important, especially with seniors, those with disabilities, or children, who may need more time to cross the road.
Pedestrians are reminded to stop before crossing to ensure they are seen by drivers. Only cross at traffic lights and stop signs once all traffic has come to a complete stop, and only cross at marked crosswalks or traffic lights. Crossing between parked cars or in the middle of the block is very dangerous.
It is important to remember that cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicle drivers on the road. Cyclists are required to drive on the right-hand side of the road, staying as close to the right edge of the road where possible. Wearing bright-coloured or reflective clothing may also increase the chances of being seen by drivers, especially at dusk or at night. Drivers wishing to pass cyclists must wait behind the bicycle until safe to pass, and then pass slowly, leaving a distance of at least one meter between the vehicle and the cyclist.
Parents and guardians are also encouraged to teach children about road safety. Teaching children to stop at all intersections, look both ways, and walk as far away from traffic as possible is important in preventing future pedestrian collisions. Keeping these laws and tips in mind will help to ensure a safe return to school for all residents.