Young men and seniors at risk on our roads – even as pedestrians

Any insurance adjuster will tell you that the two most expensive groups of people to insure are young males and seniors.   This is related to higher collisions statistics among the former and higher mortality rates from collisions for the latter.

New comparative statistics from Edmonton’s Office of Traffic Safety indicate that the very same people are at higher risk when they cross the street on foot.

There were 1,563 pedestrian-vehicle collisions between 2009-2013 in Edmonton, resulting in 1,200 (73 per cent) minor injuries, 416 (25 per cent) major injuries, and 35 (2 per cent) fatalities.

Let’s start with the gender split.  Male victims were involved 54 per cent of the time.


Males aged 25-34 years (11 per cent) were the single largest group affected, followed by young females aged 19-24 years (10 per cent).



You need to dig a little deeper into the numbers to see the impact on seniors.  Sixteen of the 35 pedestrians who were killed were aged 55 plus (46 per cent).  It seems that while seniors are not involved in more collisions than you would expect by their representation in the population, the outcome tends to be more serious for seniors, likely due to their more fragile overall health.

The Office of Traffic Safety doesn’t crunch these numbers so we can blame young people and seniors for engaging in risky behavior.  The facts show that the majority of pedestrians who are injured or killed are following the rules of the road.

OTS gives us these numbers in the hopes that, as the proverb goes, forewarned is forearmed.  We know who is vulnerable.  Now let’s act to protect them.

Safety on our roads is a shared responsibility between drivers and pedestrians.  We can all take extra care near seniors’ centres and in high traffic areas like Whyte Avenue on a Saturday night.

Let’s plan to stay safe together.


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About the Author
Gillian Rutherford
Gillian Rutherford is a communications advisor for the Transportation department.
  1. Neil
    5 years ago

    The collision information doesn’t tell us very much without exposure data. The senior data makes sense on its own (fewer collisions, more fatalities), but young men may be disproportionately represented because they walk more. I cross a lot more streets than my wife does because the distances that I consider walkable are further. I wouldn’t be surprised if this phenomenon would scale well.

    If collisions are higher for young men because they’re walking more than other groups, then the policy to reduce collisions in young men would be to target them with a “sit on your ass” campaign, which I think we can agree would have a negative outcome on public health.

    Better to focus on improvements that help all these groups – longer walk lights, shorter waits between walk cycles (to discourage jaywalking), narrower lanes to reduce vehicle speeds and decrease crossing time. That sort of thing.

  2. Neil
    5 years ago

    Oh, a few more improvements:
    – “no right on red” rule, particularly in high traffic areas
    – more walk-only cycles (scramble crossings) to reduce the number of required crossings as well as eliminate vehicle movement while pedestrians are in the street.


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