Last month we released an on-line survey asking the public for their opinion on issues like lowering speed limits, levels of enforcement, and new traffic laws.
We were very pleased to receive 330 responses, as well as a number of comments and suggestions. We very much thank those of you who took your time to provide your input.
As promised, here are the results:
Q1: Which do you believe causes more vehicle-pedestrian collisions? (please rank)
Many comments assigned blame to both parties – some point the finger straight at drivers while a number of others comment on the lack of attention of many pedestrians.
“Simply put, most car-pedestrian collisions happen because drivers are not actively watching for pedestrians at every crosswalk.”
“I believe pedestrians are more to blame for the increase of pedestrian / vehicle incidents lately.”
Q2: Do you support a law that would make it an infraction for a pedestrian to use a mobile device / text while crossing the street?
The results of our survey indicate 68% in support
; 18% opposed and 14% unsure.
This issue is receiving considerable attention these days. A recent survey in British Columbia asked a similar question and found 66% in support of such legislation; 28% opposed and 6% unsure.
Q3: Do you believe crosswalk flags have been a positive contribution to pedestrian safety?
72% of all respondents believe crosswalk flags do improve pedestrian safety with only 13% disagreeing.
While crosswalk flags are not universally appreciated (one respondent called them an “eyesore”) most people offered positive comments.
“I have used flags; very effective."
“I think the flags work brilliantly...”
“…the flags worked for me and very likely others.”
“The flags recently introduced at one of the Leeds St. crosswalks are very helpful at night.”
Q4: A number of cities have recently lowered their speed limits. Do you believe speed limits should be lowered on urban streets in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM)?
This question had the most balanced response with 51% agreeing
; 38% disagreeing and 11% unsure.
There is considerable research that lower speeds result in fewer collisions and those that do occur result in less serious injuries.
Q5: If you support a lower speed limit on urban streets, what new speed limit do you suggest? (down from current 50 kph)?
When asked what the new speed limit should be, the most common response was 40 kph at 53%
22% suggested only a 5 kph decrease to 45 kph while responses of 35 kph and 30 kph were evenly split at 13% each.
Q6: Do you believe the HRM should invest more money in pedestrian / crosswalk safety? (e.g. ‘zebra’ markings at signalized intersections, reflective tape / panels on crosswalk posts, in-road pylons etc.)
It is easy to say we want something to be improved but the tougher question is often whether we are prepared to spend more for those improvements or not. When it comes to pedestrian safety, this question demonstrates a willingness in HRM to do just that.
more money should be spent, 19% thought it should stay the same and 3% thought we should spend less, with 13% unsure.
Based on this is appears the respondents are prepared to back up their concerns with greater investments, and believe HRM Council should do the same when approving budgets.
Q7: Do you believe police should increase enforcement of driver and pedestrian infractions related to pedestrian safety? (e.g. drivers not yielding, ‘jaywalking’, entering a crosswalk on a ‘don’t walk’ light, driver use of a mobile device?)
This question generated the strongest response with 74%
agreeing more enforcement is needed and only 1% saying less. Another 16% thought the current enforcement levels were right with 9% unsure.
A number of comments also requested more enforcement.
“Enforcement should be increased for driver infractions.”
“I'd like to see police actually enforce the current laws.”
“Perhaps the single largest issue is the Police do not actively enforce cell phone use while driving.”
In summary, while the results indicate that drivers are perceived to be more responsible for collisions, like many people we believe blaming one group or another is not constructive.
Rather, focus should be on better education, strengthened rules, better enforcement, and changed behaviour so that both groups - drivers and
pedestrians - are more attentive when on the roads.
Thank you for participating in the survey and having your voice heard.
We will be sharing these results directly with HRM Council through the Transportation Standing Committee, the Halifax Regional Police, the RCMP, and the Provincial Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.
For more information on the survey or its results, contact:
Norm Collins, President, Crosswalk Safety Society of Nova Scotia