Hamilton Police report that a 78-year-old woman is in hospital after being struck by an automobile while crossing the street at Gage Avenue and Maplewood Avenue.
She was crossing within a marked crosswalk on November 20 at 6:05 AM, when a vehicle struck her as it was making a left turn from Gage onto Maplewood. She was taken to hospital with what police describe as "extensive injuries" and is in serious condition.
The driver has been charged with Careless Driving and driving with an Obstructed Windshield.
Careless Driving is a serious charge that police are normally reluctant to charge because it is difficult to prove. According to the Highway Traffic Act, the charge of Careless Driving applies to someone who:
drives a vehicle or street car on a highway without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than $400 and not more than $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both, and in addition his or her licence or permit may be suspended for a period of not more than two years.
More often, drivers who strike pedestrians face the lesser charge of Failing to Yield, which carries a $500 fine.
The persistent cliche of the negligent, entitled pedestrian sauntering across the street paints a false and misleading picture: in fact, the vast majority of pedestrians who are injured and killed on Hamilton streets are senior citizens.
Nor does the evidence indicate that these injuries and deaths are due to the carelessness or negligence of pedestrians. A 2007 study [PDF] by the City of Toronto found that in the majority of cases where a vehicle struck a pedestrian, the pedestrian was crossing lawfully in a crosswalk.
Last year, a pedestrian report by the Ontario Coroner concluded that senior citizens and children are disproportionately the victims of automobile-pedestrian collisions, and that these pedestrian fatalities are preventable.
The report recommended a "complete streets" approach to road design that makes room for all road users - pedestrians, cyclists, transit users and drivers - as well as reducing speed limits, increasing the number of pedestrian crosswalks, and more and better education on how to reduce the risk of collision.
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