Chesley F. Crosbie, Q.C.
Legal Reform Needed to Help Pedestrians
Three serious road accidents involving pedestrians including one death occurred last week, and I posted the transcript of a good CBC radio interview on the topic. Here's the point I would make about pedestrian collisions, and it's one the government should act on.
Sure, it's easy to say everyone should be more observant of safety, including pedestrians. But the loser in any disagreement between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian is going to be the pedestrian.
I walk to work most days and I cross LeMarchant Road in front of the Basilica, at the intersection with Bonaventure Avenue. And I can tell you from experience that one in three cars do not stop for a pedestrian entering a crosswalk. I've complained to the Chief of Police about enforcement, with no result.
Others have suggested ways to improve safety and reduce accidents and needless injury and death. As a lawyer helping injured people, I see an area where our law of the roads needs reform. Most other provinces have a rule on their books that vehicles running down pedestrians are presumed to be at fault. An example is s. 248 of the Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act.
Pedestrians are frail and vulnerable. It's time our legal rules shift the onus of proof against the driver, who all too often is focused on everything but pedestrian safety, and protect the frail.
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