Back to Basics: Street Safety Education Crucial to Keeping Canadians Safe this Fall

n Toronto, the education gap, coupled with a lack of empathy among road users, has escalated the need for a solution to increase road safety - now.

Back to Basics: Street Safety Education Crucial to Keeping Canadians Safe this Fall

A survey commissioned by RSA Canada, one of Canada's leading property and casualty insurers, found that 50 per cent of pedestrians don't always know when cyclists have the right of way and 33 per cent of cyclists have seen an unfamiliar road sign recently.

With back-to-school fast approaching, it's a fitting time to educate ourselves on road sharing laws and etiquette, particularly as we face one of the deadliest years ever on Toronto streets.

In 2017, 36 pedestrians, 13 drivers and 4 cyclists were killed in a collision with a motor vehicle.1 2018 is on pace to be another bad year, with more than 20 pedestrian and cyclist deaths so far. Part of the problem is the lack of education around safe practices and road signage.

A survey commissioned by RSA Canada, one of Canada's leading property and casualty insurers, found that 50 per cent of pedestrians don't always know when cyclists have the right of way and 33 per cent of cyclists have seen an unfamiliar road sign recently.

It's clear that more education is needed and road users agree: the same survey found that 57 per cent of cyclists and 44 per cent of pedestrians want their cities to invest in driver education.2 The reality, however, is that everyone could benefit from a bigger investment in road safety education if we really want to keep our streets safe, especially as our streets are going to be busier with students returning to school in the coming weeks.

That's why, as part of its goal to change mindsets and empowering everyone to take responsibility for their role in keeping our streets safe, the TruceTO hub contains a variety of tools, resources and tips on road safety – something that all road users can get behind and integrate into their day-to-day lives. Educational resources on the site include a back to school road safety infographic, road safety quiz, the first episode of StreetPeace, the official podcast of TruceTO, an educational video depicting just how much our streets have evolved, back to school road safety tips, and links to educational materials created by several like-minded organizations committed to improving road safety.

"As providers of auto insurance, RSA has a vested interest in road safety as a whole," says Donna Ince, Senior Vice President, Personal Insurance at RSA Canada. "By encouraging Canadians to look out for one another, be more mindful of their surroundings and educate themselves on the rules of the road, we hope to help reduce fatalities and increase the level of harmony on Canadian roads."

In Toronto, the education gap, coupled with a lack of empathy among road users, has escalated the need for a solution to increase road safety - now. While more road safety plans and infrastructure changes lie ahead as part of the city's ambitious Vision Zero road safety plan, TruceTO is aiming to use education and empathy to bring harmony among pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

"Long-term infrastructure change will undoubtedly lead to a reduction in injuries and fatalities. But in the short-term, TruceTO's mandate is to turn the heat down in the ongoing debate among the city's road users," adds Ince. "That's why we are focusing on road education when our children return to school this fall - we want to do our part to help make sure they're safe on the way to school and back home."

Note: To learn more about TruceTO, test your road safety knowledge and take the pledge to be a better road sharer, visit www.truceto.com. TruceTO aligns with RSA's ambition of Making Life Better Together and supports its Corporate Responsibility Safe, Secure World pillar, which focuses on safeguarding their 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.