TORONTO, JUNE 1, 2018 /CNW/ - In Toronto, the battle for space on the street amongst pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and drivers can be heated. Because, let’s face it: we Canadians may be known for our polite ways, but that ends at street level in Toronto. A lack of empathy, compounded by low awareness of the rules of the road, seems to be at the core of the issue.
Passion for space on the streets is justified, of course: in 2016, for example, 171 pedestrians and 42 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in a collision with a motor vehicle and 145 drivers were killed or seriously injured due to aggressive and distracted driving. While there is considerable effort underway towards improving road safety, such as Toronto’s ambitious Vision Zero road safety plan, the numbers say we all need to do more.
That’s why RSA Canada is calling for a truce.
On June 2, RSA Canada, one of Canada’s leading property and casualty insurers, will be officially launching TruceTO, an initiative which aims to bring harmony to the debate around street safety in Toronto. The goal behind TruceTO is to make Toronto one of the first cities in North America to officially call a truce between pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and drivers
A recent survey commissioned by RSA Canada, found:
- 50 per cent of Toronto pedestrians and drivers admit they don’t always know when cyclists have the right of way
- 33 per cent of cyclists report seeing an unfamiliar road sign recently
- More than 75 per cent of street users across the board agreed that road rage is a serious issue in Toronto
As such, education is also a key focus of this initiative. The central hub at www.truceto.com will house a variety of informative and engaging content through the year, in infographic, podcast and video format.
“The success of any street safety program is determined by a reduction in injuries and fatalities, through influencing policy change and road infrastructure,” said Donna Ince, Senior Vice President for Personal Insurance at RSA Canada. “However, it is important in the short-term to turn the heat down in the ongoing debate among the city’s road users. That is why we are taking on the unique role as a mediator to unite Torontonians based on their shared desire for – and right to – safer streets.”
The survey also revealed that more than 70 per cent of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers agree that they collectively play a role to improve safety on our street. By calling a truce between all road users, RSA wants to take the antagonistic discussion off the streets and give Canadians an opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions on better sharing the road.
“As providers of auto insurance, RSA has a vested interest in road safety as a whole,” added Ince. “That said, in order to be productive and create real change, the conversation around street use needs to shift away from victim-blaming and towards a multi-lateral, action-oriented discussion.”
RSA Canada invites all Torontonians to the TruceTO launch event scheduled for June 2 at 464 King Street West (King Street West and Spadina Avenue) between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Those who can’t make it to the event are still welcome to take the pledge to be a better road sharer at www.truceto.com and by using #TruceTO on social posts. Attendees will also have the chance to participate in a driving simulation provided by DriveWise, a leading Canadian driving school, where they can quite literally, put themselves in the driver’s seat to better understand and better navigate our changing streets – bike lanes, construction zones and pedestrian crossings, to name a few. TruceTO aligns with RSA’s corporate purpose of Making Life Better Together and supports its Corporate Responsibility Safe, Secure World pillar, which focuses on safeguarding our customers from everyday risks. To learn more about RSA Canada’s corporate social responsibility, visit https://www.rsagroup.ca/about-us/corporate-responsibility/our-corporate-responsibility-journey.