Pedestrian Patrol: SAAQ cautions heightened pedestrian traffic amid the pandemic

Toronto, Ontario — With the closure of gyms nationwide, more and more people are getting in their daily exercise by walking outdoors. And with fewer motorists on the roads, you would think pedestrians are safer than ever.

However, the 2019 safety record released by Société de l’Assurance Automobile du Québec (SAAQ) is a startling reminder not to drop your guard when stepping out for your daily stroll.  

Overall, 2019 was the second-best year in history for road safety. The SAAQ reported that 333 people were killed on the road last year—22 fewer than in 2018. The number of serious injuries also went down, and the number of deaths among young people aged 15 to 24 dropped 23.9 percent compared to the 2014–2018 average.

“About fifty years ago, six people died every day on Quebec’s roads, and now we have less than one death a day,” said Marco Harrison, road safety expert and director of the CAA-Quebec Foundation in an online news release. 

Although SAAQ’s report seems to paint an overall positive picture, it hides some disturbing data about pedestrians, who are the most vulnerable road users, along with cyclists. The 71 people who died walking on the roads in 2019 represented an 18.7 percent increase compared to the average of the previous five years.

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