Seven months, over 100 pedestrians struck in Halifax, police data shows

Haley Ryan, Metro Halifax
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HALIFAX - Halifax police will now be releasing details around where, when and what conditions were like for pedestrian/vehicle collisions each month, which HRM councillor Steve Craig said could lead to concrete improvements for drivers and walkers, “which we did not have before.”

The intersection at Willet and Lacewood.

On Monday, Halifax Regional Police said 123 victims came out of 121 reported vehicle-pedestrian collisions from January to July this year, which is a jump from 72 mishaps in 2013.

Instead of alerting the public when every single collision occurs from now on, police spokesman Const. Pierre Bourdages said serious ones will be released right away, but everything else will go into a monthly presentation.

“It’s also to provide our citizens with a better understanding as to what’s happening,” Bourdages said.

There were 78 collisions in crosswalks this year compared to 44 last year, and 15 in parking lots within the same period for both years.

Bourdages said crosswalk incidents have been much more visible in the news this year, which could account for heightened awareness and more collisions being reported.

“It’s a good thing. It allows us to switch out enforcement and monitor the right places,” he said.

Reported collisions peaked between 4 and 5 p.m. followed by 6 to 8 p.m., and 52 per cent of the collisions took place during “clear weather” while 65 per cent were in daylight, so citizens can try to be more aware during those problem times, Bourdages said.

Police noted due to the small numbers of accidents, the day of the week and time of day trends “cannot be deemed statistically significant.”

Coun. Steve Craig, who represents Lower Sackville, said bringing the collision data under a monthly release instead of every day is “an appropriate balance” and better use of resources.

Police could look at dangerous areas and decide if an intersection redesign, more traffic signs, education, or more enforcement is needed.

“It’s analyzing the data … and coming up with something that’s actionable that improves the situation. That is what we did not have before,” he said.

Three collisions at Lacewood intersection lead the pack

The intersection of Willett Street and Lacewood Drive was the only place where three pedestrians were struck by a car between January and July this year, according to police data.

Halifax Regional Police spokesman Const. Pierre Bourdages said the busy spot next to a bus terminal has lots of pedestrians using the crosswalk and drivers travelling along Lacewood.

“It doesn’t excuse anything, but it’s an area where we’re going to have an increased police presence to make sure that we don’t have any more there,” he said.

Now that police are analyzing the data they collect on these incidents, Bourdages said it will be easier to monitor any “problem areas” that pop up.

Although the “vast majority” of those at fault in a collision are drivers, Bourdages said, one pedestrian was charged at the Willett intersection which is concerning because they “have everything to lose.”

According to the data, one driver reported a minor injury over the last seven months.

Geographic location: Willett Street

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