Category Archives: Enhancing Safety for Pedestrians



“Pedestrian scramble” is a completely inelegant term for temporarily stopping driver traffic in all directions. Pedestrians are then allowed to cross in four directions in intersectional crosswalks as well as diagonally, for a total of six directions instead of the two directions pedestrians at intersections are so very used to.

The actual name “scramble” sounds like chaos, and it has been called a pedestrian crisscross or diagonal intersection in other places. But that “scramble” name suggests that even when we talk about equity for street users, when it happens for pedestrians they had better move quickly. Despite the name, research at Transport for London has suggested the installation of a diagonal crossing can reduce pedestrian casualties by 38 percent.

The photo above is from Seoul Korea where the scramble intersections have been installed in busy business areas. I am familiar with the scramble intersections in Seoul and they work well. The one requirement though is that there must be large sidewalks and well built walking infrastructure to handle the increased capacity of people that will be using these crosswalks in all six directions.

Some traffic engineers perceive the pedestrian scramble as inefficient as it stops driver traffic in all directions. But that’s a good thing, in that it allows drivers to make left or right turns through the crossing without being blocked by walkers. In Vancouver most pedestrians are hit in intersections during those left and right turn driver vehicle movements.

Vancouver actually was one of the first cities in the world to have pedestrian scamble intersections in the 1950’s. At that time they were called “diagonal” intersections and were placed at Georgia and Granville Streets, Hastings and Granville and Pender and Beatty Streets in 1953. There was also a pedestrian scramble installed in 1965 at the “T” intersection of Columbia and Church Streets in New Westminster.

There is a great story in the Vancouver Sun from December 2nd 1953 when Vancouver Traffic Superintendent Gordon Ambrose decided to treat pedestrians like car drivers at these intersections. In one day with twenty “point men” in a “flying squad” 107 tickets were issued to walkers. These were all court summons for walking not according to the “walk” signal, or on a “wait signal” or getting caught crossing the diagonal intersections when the signal for walking changed. 

The use of a pedestrian scramble in high pedestrian traffic areas was mentioned in the 2012 2040 Transportation Report prepared by the City of Vancouver, but turfed because of concerns of crossing for sight impaired individuals.

The very capable Paul Storer who is Vancouver’s Director of Transportation has written a Council report based upon a request from an ABC Councillor to create a pedestrian scramble. Mr. Storer reviewed four high pedestrian traffic intersections in the downtown area and narrowed down the candidates to the Granville and Robson Street intersections. There are some concerns with transit delays, and you can read the analysis in the report.

Surprisingly this Council actually allocated half a million dollars from the Growing Community Fund for this project, but Mr. Storer’s project will only require 100,000 to 200,000 dollars for this initiative. Perhaps instead of a splashy downtown six way criss cross, this Council could consider installing more Leading Pedestrian Intervals at more intersections. They are not as flashy, but by allowing pedestrians a three to seven second second head start in an intersection before drivers get the green light reduce driver crashes into pedestrians by 60 percent. The cost is less than a few thousand dollars per intersection for something that saves lives and prevents serious injury for vulnerable road users.

You can read more about Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs) here.

Here is a video from the City of Surrey which has installed many Leading Pedestrian Intervals as part of their Vision Zero Work with Shabnem Afzal. Ms. Afzal is now the Director of Road Safety Policy and Programs at ICBC, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.

images Yonhapnews, Vancouver Archives City of Vancouver

The Driver Right-Turn-on-Red & Why It Should Be Rethought

Do you know the history of how vehicle drivers were allowed to turn right at a red light?

And did  you know before fifty years ago while some places allowed drivers to turn right at a red light, nearly half of jurisdictions, including most of the eastern United States did not?

It was the 1973 Oil Crisis and the Energy Crisis of 1979 when fuel costs soared that vehicle drivers and governments looked at reducing energy use nationally. It was Alan Voorhees that did work on the “benefits” of the Right Turn on Red System (RTOR).  As unlikely as it sounds, allowing a driver to turn right on a red light at an intersection saved between 1 and 4.6 seconds of time. This was seen by the National Energy Department as a significant improvement for energy efficiency, and it was recommended that RTOR be implemented nationally.

Besides the time saving, there was a saving in fuel costs that impacted mainly larger vans and trucks. That is why today many courier companies have their trucks only making right turns to reduce idling, and to keep trucks from waiting in the middle of intersections to complete left turns.

Of course there was also the pesky bit of what happens when vehicles are allowed to turn right on red.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found over 40 years ago that permitting these right turns by drivers increased driver crashes with pedestrians by  60 percent and increased driver crashes with cyclists  by 100 percent. But saving those few seconds of stopping time for vehicle drivers has still been paramount, with even Quebec moving to allowing right turn on red (except in Montreal) in 2003.

Right turn on red Vancouver 1953

In 2015 Toronto Public Health produced a report showing that the right turn on red driving tactic had resulted in 1,300 pedestrian injuries and deaths from 2008 to 2012. That is 13 percent of all serious injuries and deaths due to vehicle driver crashes. Simply prohibiting the right turn on red would alleviate  those injuries and fatalities.

As Councillor Mike Layton recounted “the decision to allow RTOR “had nothing to do with road safety and everything to do with convenience and saving gas.”

You would think in a country that provides universal health care the concept of Vision Zero, allowing no deaths or serious injury on any roads would be of paramount importance. But the right turn on red permission for drivers has been relatively unchallenged, and the injury and death impact of giving drivers priority is underreported.

Take a look below at two articles from British Columbia published thirty years apart discussing allowing drivers the ability to turn right through red lights. The first article was published in the Vancouver Sun in 1953. The second article by Sydney Harris was published in the Victoria Times Colonist in 1981.

Here we are 40 years later, supposedly championing sidewalk users and cyclists in cities, and still giving vehicle drivers that few seconds of priority with red light turns. At what cost?

Right turn on red Vancouver 1953 14 Jul 1953, Tue The Vancouver Sun (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)

Times Colonist Victoria May 5, 1981 05 May 1981, Tue Times Colonist (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada)

One Pedestrian A Month & Vision Zero

Vision Zero refers to zero road deaths and no serious injuries on roads, with the philosophy that every life matters.  Applied in Sweden since 1997 the core belief is that “Life and health can never be exchanged for other benefits within the society”. This approach differs from the standard cost benefit approach, where a dollar value is based upon life, and that value is used to decide the cost of road networks and calculate the cost of risk.

We see examples of this all the time and are now inured to these avoidable fatalities as the opportunity cost of driving a vehicle.

There has been ten pedestrians killed so far in Vancouver, one pedestrian a month. One was a woman crossing at Beach Avenue and Broughton Street at 8:00 p.m. (it was still light) on July 27. She was killed by a white SUV. A cyclist also lost his life in Vancouver biking on Pacific at Hornby in July.

In August the family of Sarah Lutgens (who at 73 years of age and extremely active was firstly reported as “elderly” in the Vancouver Sun) were in court regarding their death of their mother in September 2020. Ms. Lutgens  was killed by a driver at Tenth and Sasamat. The driver had proceeded through a red light making a left turn, crashing into  Ms. Lutgens who was legally crossing in a crosswalk and then continued to drive over Ms. Lutgens’ body.

It is no surprise that we as a society forgive these fatalities as an unpleasant side effect of the freedom to roam the road in a vehicle. And no surprise that driving over Ms. Lutgens is seen as an offence under the Motor Vehicle Act and not a criminal offence, as there was no proof of criminal intent.

Ms. Lutgens with one of her five children, daughter Ruth

As Keith Fraser writes in the Vancouver Sun, “the court held that there was no evidence of a wanton and reckless disregard for the rules of the road prior to the intersection, and drugs and alcohol were not believed to be involved. Speed did not appear to be a significant factor.”

There are three things that contribute to road fatalities: driver speed, driver intoxication, and driver inattention. The driver was fined for “driving without due care and attention”, given an $1,800 fine, with a one year ban on driving and eighteen months of probation. In court the driver apparently was upset about the driving prohibition as it inhibited taking her children to private school.

The media is also not reporting that Ms. Lutgens was struck and run over by a Tesla SUV.  Because of thicker “A” pillars and driver height the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)  reports that SUVs are twice as likely to crash into pedestrians on left turns than smaller vehicles. The researchers actually  suggest that the design of these  bigger vehicles are culpable, as they  “may not afford drivers as clear a view of people crossing a road.” 

That is inexcusable.

Ms. Lutgens, a mother of five children is not alive to give her version of the story, but dash cam footage filmed her final moments. One of Ms. Lutgen’s daughters said in her victim impact statement that the driver:

 “took my mother from me, from my siblings, and from my children and husband. I could not eat. I could not sleep. I could not take care of myself or my children.”

There are cliffs in terms of the recognition of the collateral damage done to families by these crashes, and the loss of talent and treasure to society in these unnecessary deaths.

This year Parachute Canada has commenced the discussion in a national awareness campaign based on Vision Zero principles that calls on Canadians to #ShareSafeRoads.  

Parachute Canada is a national charity dedicated to injury prevention and they have produced a series of quick 30 second videos getting the “driver”, “pedestrian”, “cyclist” and even the “scooter” to sit down and talk to a therapist. We need to commence and continue this dialogue.

We’ve included the English and French version for you to view below.

Image: RuthLutgens,VancouverSun

The Danger Months of Vancouver Where Even the Sidewalks Are Not Safe

The Danger Months of Vancouver For Pedestrians

Winter are the danger months for pedestrians in this Province. Almost double the number of pedestrians are seriously injured in vehicle crashes between October and January when compared to the four month period between May and August.

In the entire province almost one third of all pedestrian deaths happen in Vancouver and Surrey, with nearly 60 percent of those deaths being males. In the last nine years 151 pedestrians have been killed in just those two municipalities.

Metro Vancouver is unique in having dark, wet winter days and evenings without the reflectivity of snow. Add in trees and rain and it is difficult for vulnerable road users, those without a steel vehicle frame to protect them, to be seen by vehicle drivers.

But there is a new wrinkle in Vancouver this year and it is worthy of note. To date ten pedestrians have been killed in the City of Vancouver. But four of those victims, or 40 percent were killed while they were on sidewalks.

That sobering horrible statistic suggests that wearing bright clothes or reflection does not help when vehicle drivers are out of control and crash their cars into people on sidewalks. There were two students killed walking on a sidewalk at University of British Columbia.  A vehicle crashed into a father carrying his two year old daughter in July. (There is a Go Fund Me campaign for the parents, who both witnessed the death). And in November  a man in a wheelchair was killed when a  vehicle driver lost control and crashed into him on a Davie Street sidewalk.

Kudos to the Vancouver Sun for producing a responsible video that outlines the statistics about pedestrian serious injuries and fatalities and do not once mention wearing reflectivity. That video is posted below.

In partnership with police departments, ICBC (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia) records  sixty different contributing factors to pedestrian fatalities across the province, and you can view that graph here.  In the last four years  driver speed, driver distraction, and driver being impaired were the top three factors resulting in pedestrian deaths.

We need to address driver road speed, driver distraction, driver  impairment and road design.

All of these factors are out of the pedestrians’ control.

Slowing driver road speeds in municipalities should be a no brainer. The UBCM  (Union of British Columbia Municipalities)  unanimously approved a motion asking the  Province to allow for 30 kilometer per hour designations for residential areas off arterials. That was two years ago.

That designation  would allow these neighbourhood  areas to enact lower driver speed limit without placing costly regulatory signage on every street.

That would enable municipalities to spend that funding on slower street road design.

No one should lose their life on a sidewalk.


Featured image for “Self-Driving Vehicles: A Reality Yet?”

Self-driving vehicles  were to make commuting effortless, and to lower carbon emissions. It’s been a dream for decades, and  most assume that self-driving vehicles would be everywhere in the next decade. There will be whole new industries too, with everything from mobile teaching units to offices that are literally on wheels.

One of the big issues is that the technology is still not fully developed to identify pedestrians and cyclists on the road. These are called “edge cases” but some of them have been surprising: including the fact that the autonomous vehicle software did a great job of identifying upright, fit caucasian young people (like the ones writing the software) but had difficulty with other forms and colours. The technology was five percent less accurate sensing a human with a darker skin colour in this study at Georgia Tech.

This leads to other issues as well: how will disabled people be sensed on the road? A report from Britain creating the legal framework for the operation of self-driving vehicles notes that people with disabilities may be at risk with “systems may not have been trained to deal with the full variety of wheelchairs and mobility scooters.” 

There has also been the discussion of how cities and places will be designed so that autonomous vehicles can drive without an interface with human beings. That could be done by designing cities so that there is complete separation of the vehicles from humans biking or walking, creating a separate grid solely for the self-driving vehicles. That design idea has not been favourably received.

The general manager of the Confederation for the European Bicycle Industry thought he had a solution with their idea of “cycle to vehicle” sensors. They said: “It is the goal of the “connected car” industry to make cyclists wear sensors or beacons so they can be detected more easily. Currently, “erratic” cyclists are hard to detect by autonomous vehicles. And pedestrians, too, are often not spotted by a plethora of detection devices on the most tricked-out “driverless cars.”

But here’s the good part: a fleet of autonomous vehicles could lower carbon emissions and can increase road safety. The World Health Organization estimates 1.3 million people a year die in road crashes according to Jenny Cusack writing for BBC. Universal adoption of self-driving vehicles could save lives.

However Ms. Cusack  points out that the autonomous vehicle experience, as a calm steady way to travel may not be what all humans want to do on the road.  And while there will be design changes in communities if autonomous vehicles are universally adopted (narrow roads, less vehicular parking spaces) there is still the pesky problem of our human peculiarities: how can vehicles be programmed to operate efficiently with unpredictable human behaviour. Ms. Cusack notes that this is now the major focus of testing. While autonomous vehicles can operate handily in controlled environments, they are still not efficient in more complex ones with different surfaces, different facades, and different human behaviours.

The video below highlights the work of Mcity at the University of Michigan. This is a purpose built outdoor lab that simulates different situations for driverless vehicles and evaluates them. How advanced is this work?  The automobile industry is hoping for a fully automated vehicle capable of driving anywhere in the next few years.



It seems strange that in a place that says in their Transportation Plan that  pedestrians and cyclists are the first priority  that we still have not become serious about ensuring that the most vulnerable road users  have clear, accessible sidewalks and bike lanes when it snows. From the perspective of anyone with a mobility deficit, in a wheelchair, or walking with a baby stroller unimpeded sidewalks cleared from snow just makes sense. Add in the fact that everyone should be shopping locally to support businesses hit by the pandemic.  So why are cities not providing this basic service, of ensuring cleared sidewalks for residents  to access local commercial areas?

I have previously written about the City of Winnipeg that gives  their crews a 36 hour window for priority cleaning, and that includes sidewalks, which just like roads are labelled priority one or priority two. After a blizzard  the City of Winnipeg  will be clearing 2,900 kilometers of sidewalks stating “The sidewalks are done the same way as the streets”.

In Vancouver? Nada. Vancouver makes it the responsibility of residents to clean the section of sidewalk in front of their house, and makes business owners responsible for the areas in front of their store fronts.  But the City of Vancouver does not respond equitably by  clearing their own snowy sidewalks adjacent to city parks and services, and pedestrian curb crossings can be treacherous. It just makes sense to snow plough out the corners where pedestrians cross, keep the snow out of bike lanes, and give Vancouverites a fighting chance when the snow falls, freezes, and stays.

It was balmy in Toronto last week, but the Toronto Star Editorial Board is not fooled and has bluntly  told the City of Toronto to start cleaning snow off sidewalks.

Just as in Vancouver, “Toronto leaves the responsibility for clearing sidewalks in the central core, the densest part of the city with the most pedestrians, to individual business owners and residents. Not surprisingly, they do a fairly haphazard job of it. And it’s pedestrians, including vulnerable seniors and those with disabilities, who face the dangerous consequences of that.”

With the pandemic curve not looking so positive, walking might be one of the few safe, open activities if there is another lockdown.

There’s statistics showing that in Toronto there were 3,000 complaints last year over snow covered sidewalks, 624 inspections and only 44 fines. The whole problem is that the complaints, inspections and fines still don’t produce what a city’s residents need~ clear, safe winter sidewalks.

There is specialized equipment for clearing sidewalks, and Ottawa and Montreal clean sidewalks, as well as Winnipeg. It’s no biggie. The estimated insurance cost of what the City of Toronto pays out annually for slips and falls on icy sidewalks is nearly seven million dollars, which you would think would be a major incentive for making sidewalk clearing a priority.

In Vancouver we only have to look back on February of 2018 when the snow came, stayed, and provided slippy boot punching snow on sidewalks throughout the city that remained grudgingly uncleared. The City has a Snow Angel Program that matched seniors and others looking to have their front sidewalk shovelled with someone that is willing to do that. But on a citywide basis in every commercial area and on the connecting streets we need the City to do the same service, providing snow removal on sidewalks so that everyone can have the chance to be mobile.  That’s how you give pedestrians and cyclists transportation priority all year around.

With over 460,000 views, here’s a YouTube  example of a snow removal machine made specifically for dealing with snow on sidewalks.



A six year old girl was trying to cross Central Avenue in Ladner between the Lions Park and London Drugs. She was with three brothers and sisters and her grandmother. A vehicle driver  came from around the corner at great speed and almost hit the four children. This six year old girl decided to Do Something About It.

She drew a picture of what had happened to her family and wrote a letter to Delta City Council.

In her letter she wrote:

“Dear Town Council

I think  we need a cross walk by lions park to the stores.

Lots of people cross there and it is a very busy road

and it is hard to see around the corner. I am six years old.”

She then drew up her own petition form to collect names and addresses of other people that also thought getting a crosswalk across Central Avenue between the commercial area and the park was a good idea. In knocking on doors and approaching people she also found out that other people had stories about almost being crashed into at that location. The six year old collected thirty signatures and addresses which she carefully appended to her letter to Council.

At their meeting of November 9, Delta Council received the six year old’s letter and petition. They directed Engineering staff to complete a crosswalk assessment on Central Avenue at the Lions Park pathway and to report the findings to the Transportation Technical Committee for review. They also directed that a “written response be provided to the writer”.

You can be sure that we will be following this crosswalk assessment, and also monitoring any changes proposed by the City. Because the one person you never want to disappoint is a six year old who has done their homework, evaluated the problem, and proposed the solution.

Kudos to her.

City of Toronto Reboots “Vision Zero”

people brasil guys avpaulista

Photo by Kaique Rocha on

Toronto Star reporter Ben Spurr has continued the conversation about road violence against vulnerable road users in that city. It’s been a surprisingly uphill battle in Toronto where 190 pedestrians and 7 cyclists have died in the past five years. But Toronto is not the big city leader in road deaths in Canada. Vancouver is.

The City of Toronto has 2.2  road deaths per 100,000 population. Vancouver actually has a higher rate than the City of Toronto, at 2.4 road deaths per 100,000. And Montreal’s rate is almost half, at 1.3 road deaths per 100,000.   You can take a look at the statistics here.

The residents of Toronto have protested against road violence and demanded change in making their city streets and places safer for vulnerable road users. People who have lost loved ones due to road violence have organized and protested in groups such as Friends and Families for Safe Streets.

The City of Toronto originally implemented a 2016 Vision Zero plan that did not aim at the complete reduction of road deaths and serious injuries, but rather a percentage of less fatalities.

Toronto soon realized the folly of that concept as the “the number of fatal collisions in the past 5 years has seen a general increase compared to the previous 5 years. The upward trend is most notably seen in pedestrian fatalities.” 

In a June 2019 reboot of Vision Zero called  “2.0”-Road Safety Update ,Toronto’s Engineering Staff got serious about the safe systems approach, with Council adopting a speed management strategy, road design improvements, and an education and engagement plan. As well two pedestrian death traps were identified for special attention: mid block crossings (responsible for 50 percent of pedestrian deaths); and vehicles turning through crosswalks (causing 25 percent of deaths). The City also directly stated that their goal was now no deaths or serious injuries on the road, which is the true  Vision Zero approach.

Toronto’s data on road violence also mirrored that of  Vancouver’s~the majority of pedestrians killed are over 55 years old. But like Vancouver, driver education and the design and timing of intersection crossings still  does not reflect the specific requirements of seniors or those with accessibility needs.

The City of Toronto’s analysis identified slowing road speeds as potentially preventing almost 20  percent of fatalities and serious injuries, with road design modifications and signalization of mid-block crossings reducing mortality by another 23 percent. Protected cycling lanes and pedestrian leading intervals (head start signals) could mitigate another 14 percent of deaths/serious accidents.

It is always much easier to finger point at the vulnerable road user as being the pesky problem in any vehicular crash. Throughout the 20th century laws have habituated low  penalties to drivers who kill or seriously maim pedestrians or cyclists, almost as if road violence was accepted collateral for standardized vehicular movement.

Despite the victim blaming about inattentiveness of pedestrians and cyclists, Toronto Police point out that between 2007 and 2017  65 percent of victims killed were over 55 years old, and most of that cohort would not be owning cell phones.

Data collected and interpreted by the Toronto Star  shows Toronto statistics that are similar to Vancouver’s. In 45 percent of crashes that are fatal or causing serious injury, the pedestrian had the right of way. Like Vancouver pedestrian collisions increase in November with shorter days. In Toronto analysis shows that 75 percent of severe pedestrian accidents happen during good weather conditions, when travel is faster.

One of the struggles for Toronto’s Mayor John Tory is that the  “two main goals for his administration’s road policies: easing traffic congestion, and making streets safer through Vision Zero, which he has backed at council” may actually work against each other. Traffic congestion slows vehicular speed, allowing for more driver reaction time and less serious injuries in crashes with vulnerable road users. Congestion also facilitates the use of alternative ways of moving,  such as the King Street streetcar and buses.

It is clear that there needs to be a cultural shift in favour of recognizing pedestrians and cyclists as equal road users that have the right to travel safely on the city’s streets and public spaces. And that needs to happen now.

Toronto’s General Manager of Engineering Barbara Gray sums up the civic approach to Vision Zero in this YouTube video below.

Is it Time To Ban SUVs in Cities?


SUVs and trucks make up 60 percent of all vehicle purchases and have been responsible for a 46 percent increase in pedestrian deaths.

Never doubt the power and strength of the motor vehicle lobby. A SUV  (sport utility vehicle) is a vehicle built on a truck platform with a “high profile” on the street. Statistics show that SUVs with the high front end grille are twice as likely to kill pedestrians because of the high engine profile, but this information has not been well publicized. In the United States a federal initiative to include pedestrian crash survival into the vehicle ranking system was halted by opposing automakers.

It was the City of London England that banned a certain type of truck when the city realized that it was responsible for 50 per cent of all cycling mortalities and over 20 per cent of all pedestrian deaths. Of course there was pushback, but the Mayor of London just said no.

Laura Laker  in  the Guardian  now asks the question~is it time to ban SUVs from our cities? SUVs are heavily marketed and are highly profitable for car companies, but they are also deadly. Drivers have an 11 percent increase in the chance of fatality in them, as their size and bulk is connected with more reckless driving. They are also killing machines in the conventional sense. In September a SUV driver in Berlin lost control of his vehicle and killed four people on a sidewalk, a grandmother and grandson and two twenty year old men.

That was the tipping point for citizens in Berlin who called for size limitations on vehicles allowed in city centres, asking for a national policy permitting local authorities to restrict vehicles based upon size.

As Laker writes; SUVs are a paradox: while many people buy them to feel safer, they are statistically less safe than regular cars, both for those inside and those outside the vehicle. A person is 11% more likely to die in a crash inside an SUV than a regular saloon. Studies show they lull drivers into a false sense of security, encouraging them to take greater risks. Their height makes them twice as likely to roll in crashes and twice as likely to kill pedestrians by inflicting greater upper body and head injuries, as opposed to lower limb injuries people have a greater chance of surviving. Originally modelled from trucks, they are often exempt from the kinds of safety standards applied to passenger vehicles, including bonnet (hood) height. In Europe legislation is being brought in to end such “outdated and unjustified” exemptions.

In Europe,  SUVs are nearly 40% of all vehicle sales. If you are struck by a SUV you are twice as likely to be killed by its high motor profile. “British academics who analysed police collision data have identified pedestrians as 70% more likely to be killed if they were hit by someone driving a 2.4-litre engine vehicle than a 1.6-litre model.”

Europe does not collect statistics on vehicular fatalities by type, and researchers indicate that the lack of specific collision data and finger pointing means the car industry is creating bigger, heavier vehicles that are rolling family rooms. But large engine vehicles because of their size and profile are deadly.

SUVs are also ‘Climate killers’. There has been little progress on reducing  road transport carbon emissions in Europe, comprising 27% of all emissions. While the automobile industry blames regulators for turning away from diesel (lower in carbon but more toxic)  regulators blame the lack of progress on SUVs “driven by carmakers’ aggressive marketing”.

And here are the numbers~the size and larger engines in SUVs mean they have CO2 emissions that are 14% higher, with every market shift towards SUV’s increasing
CO2 emissions by 0.15g CO2/km on average. A 2018 Committee on Climate Change report noted that “the popularity of SUVs is cancelling out emissions savings from improvements in technology”.

We simply cannot drive our way out of climate change and increasing CO2 emissions, but we can take a stand. There is no place for SUVs in cities from an environmental standpoint. Being driven these are killing machines, and have no place in walkable, cyclable cities. It’s time to tell automakers that SUVs don’t belong here.


Speed Cameras, Highways and Vulnerable Road Users

It’s hard to believe in this time of technology that we still require police officers to be vulnerable road users outside of their vehicles to flag over motorists for speed  transgressions on Canadian highways. Not only are they subject to being crashed into by the vehicle they are flagging down, they also may be hit by other  inattentive motorists.

I have written about how Switzerland has become the safest country in Europe on the roads by  regulating speed limits. In five years from 2001 to 2006 Swiss speed camera enforcement resulted in a fatality decrease of 15 percent per year, bringing road deaths from 71 annually down to 31. No need to have police flagging you down on the autoroute, a $330  ticket for driving 16 kilometres an hour over the speed limit  is in the mail.

The maximum travel speed is 120 km/h and it is rigidly enforced, making Swiss motorways the safest according to the European Transport Safety Council. Managing speed makes the roads easier to drive on, with consistent motorist behaviour and plenty of reaction time due to highway speed conformity.

poll conducted by Mario Canseco  last year shows that 70 percent of  people in British Columbia are now supportive of the use of a camera system similar to the Swiss to enforce road speed limits in this province. While the Province has located 140 red light camera at intersections with high collision statistics, speed on highways does not have similar technology.

On the last Thanksgiving weekend police forces across British Columbia announced a drive safely campaign, notifying that they would be out on highways  looking for anything that took away from safe highway driving. Anyone driving on highways from Abbotsford to Vancouver quickly saw the difference, with motorists staying to posted speed limits on highways.

But last month one  Delta Police Force member was nearly struck by a vehicle driver that was weaving in and out of traffic along a busy section of highway as the officer was outside of his vehicle attending to another stopped car.  That officer was nearly clipped and this was caught on a dash camera.

As reported by CTV News 

“The footage shows the driver speeding excessively and weaving through traffic while an unmarked police car has another driver pulled over. The police car had its red and blue flashing lights activated at the time, which means the driver should have slowed down and moved over.”

Sadly, the vehicle owner was only fined $368 for an action that could have led to a fatality. It’s one more reason why speed enforcement by automated cameras is simply the right thing to do, making roads safer and saving lives, health care costs and trauma. This approach also values the health and safety of  police officers to do work that does not expose them as vulnerable road users. It’s the 21st century, and time for technology to assist in changing driver behaviour for safer, speed regulated highways.

You can view the event as recorded here: