Lower residential speed limits, special side guards on heavy trucks, tougher police enforcement.
Those are among the 26 recommendations of Ontario Chief Coroner Dr. Andrew McCallum after analyzing a year's worth of pedestrian fatalities in the province.
McCallum issued his Pedestrian Death Review on Wednesday, which studied 95 fatal accidents in 2010.
He found more than two thirds of the deaths took place on streets with a posted speed limit above 50 kilometres an hour, compare with five per cent on roads with limits below that, the Globe and Mail reported.
So, McCallum's urging that the speed limit on residential roads be lowered to 40 kmh and in some places 30 kmh.
He also recommends that Transport Canada make side guards mandatory on all heavy trucks to prevent people from falling under the wheels, CTV News reported.
Municipalities should also adopt a "complete streets" approach in new developments, which would aim to make roads safe and convenient for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities, McCallum recommends.
"A road safety paradigm shift is necessary," says the report, according to the Globe. "With recent rising costs for fuel, it is highly likely that walking will increase in the future. Ontarians want to walk and cycle and they want to be safe doing it."
All growing cities have been wrestling with how to keep pedestrians safe, especially as traffic congestion spills more vehicles onto residential roads. Some communities have responded by adding speed bumps on overused side streets (I like the British term "sleeping policemen") or barriers that bar through traffic.
One of McCallum's other recommendations involves the creation of more mid-block intersections because nearly a third of pedestrians died when they tried to cross away from an intersection or crosswalk.
Interestingly, pedestrian fatalities in Canada actually declined by almost one quarter between 1992 and 2001, according to a Statistics Canada study.
But a more recent StatsCan report on road safety reinforces the fact that pedestrians are among the most vulnerable road users, accounting for 13 per cent of all road deaths between 2004-08.
And The Canadian Press reported earlier this year that a U.S. study had found a spike in pedestrian deaths and injuries among people wearing headphones.
McCallum's report also highlights jaywalking and distracted walking — people talking on cellphones, focused on their smartphones or walking their dogs — which may have contributed to about 20 per cent of the fatalities, the Globe reported.
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Pedestrians over aged 65 accounted for 36 per cent of the deaths, the report noted, while the group makes up only 13.2 per cent of the Ontario population, which jibes with StatsCan's national data.
One of McCallum's recommendations is for more educational programs for senior citizens.
McCallum said he believes if his recommendations are followed they could cut pedestrian deaths in half by 2022.