In 2016, Toronto politicians passed a motion on whether cellphone use should be banned while in crosswalks.
At the time, the provincial government dismissed the motion.
Now, the debate has been reignited thanks to former mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmat.
On Twitter, Keesmaat said Toronto City Council has asked the provincial government to look into a potential crosswalk cellphone ban.
According to Keesmaat, this request is “perpetuating the brutal myth that pedestrians are to blame when they are hit by a reckless driver.”
Keesmaat acknowledged that people “sometimes do dumb things, like rush across a street.” However, she argued that the city should be designed in such a way that “when people do make mistakes, they are not deadly.”
Let's agree: people sometimes do dumb things, like rush across a street. Sometimes they are walking and sometimes they are driving. The foundation of Vision Zero is about designing cities so that when people do make mistakes, they are not deadly. #SlowStreets
— Jennifer Keesmaat (@jen_keesmaat) September 2, 2019
Keesmat has since cited data from New York City that showed that 0.2 percent of pedestrian fatalities involved the use of electronic devices.
The latest research, released last week from NYC's #VisionZero policy team (thanks @juliakite), shows .2% of pedestrian fatalities involve the use of a smartphone.
This is why targeting pedestrians on smartphones is futile game playing. pic.twitter.com/uXu7VAaAeI
— Jennifer Keesmaat (@jen_keesmaat) September 3, 2019
In response to her Keesmaat’s thread, many people expressed their agreement with what she was saying.
I was crossing at Parkside and Bloor the other day and a driver coming east looked me straight in the eyes and proceeded to make an aggressive left turn into me, forcing me to run out of the way. Pedestrians are not the problem.
— Danielle O'Hanley (@dohanley) September 2, 2019
When people say this, it makes it sound like it's a 50/50 issue, when studies show in most cases, pedestrian inattention isn't the cause.
— Dennis Chung (@DenChung) September 2, 2019
Will this just be another law that police don’t enforce like drivers blocking intersections and cyclists riding on sidewalks? It’s about pretending they’re doing something when in reality police don’t enforce the existing rules of the road.
— Pedro Marques (@MetroManTO) September 2, 2019
Speaking to CityNews, councillor Frances Nunziata — who originally brought forward the motion in 2016 — said she’d be willing to do so once again.
“We should focus, definitely, on the drivers,” Nunziata said. “But I think we have to focus on the pedestrians as well because it’s important that we look at safety for all of us.”
Via: 680 News