Pedestrian and Motor Vehicle Accidents in Halifax: The McKiggan Hebert Report

Living in one of the most beautiful cities in Canada, it’s pretty common for many of us to take a morning jog or walk around Halifax. Thankfully, getting around downtown Halifax is usually a pretty safe proposition.

Not always, though. Pedestrian and motor vehicle collisions happen on a fairly regular basis in Halifax, and sometimes the results can be tragic, even fatal. It’s important to understand these trends in order to protect yourself and your family. That’s why we compiled the 2016 Halifax Accident Report; it includes the most recent statistics, a map of pedestrian & motor vehicle accidents in downtown Halifax, and tips to stay safe while navigating the city we are proud to call home.

Halifax Accident Map – Pedestrians and Motor Vehicles
We worked with the Halifax Police Department to compile this map of all accidents in zones 1 and 4 (downtown Halifax); It plots all of the pedestrian and motor vehicle collisions in our city in 2015. There are separate icons for pedestrians and motor vehicles, but in both cases, darker icons represent more accidents that occurred at a given intersection.

What does the data tell us? There are a number of pretty dangerous intersections in downtown Halifax that have been the site of multiple collisions:

  • Barrington and Cornwallis (16-20 collisions)
  • Robie and South (10-15 collisions)
  • Robie and Spring Garden (10-15 collisions)
  • The Willow Tree intersection (10-15 collisions)

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone that lives in Halifax that the most dangerous intersection for pedestrians is at Spring Garden and South Park Street.

map of halifax pedestrian and mva accident map legend
Casualty Rates in Canada: Roads are Getting Safer
While motor vehicle collisions are still a regular occurrence in Canada, the number of fatalities that result from them is steadily dropping, according to Canada Motor Vehicle Traffic Collision Statistics. From 1995 to 2014, fatality rates dropped, starting at more than 300,000 and dropping to below 200,000, a significant change for the better.

Source: (Page 4)

Nova Scotia Casualty Rates
In Nova Scotia, there are 5.8 fatalities per 100,000 people, which is slightly higher than the national average of 5.2. However, it’s half the rate of the most dangerous province of Saskatchewan. But your odds of being injured – sometimes severely – are higher. For the same 100,000-person segment of the population, 421.7 people were injured in 2014.

nova scotia casuality rates
Source: (page 4)

Pedestrian Collisions
You’ll be happy to hear that in Halifax, and in Canada in general, pedestrian collisions are relatively rare. There were 39.4 pedestrian accidents per 100,000 people in 2014-2015. But I think you will agree that even one collision is too many if it can be prevented.

Less than a fifth of the 219 pedestrian collisions reported in Halifax in 2013 involved bicycles; the rest occurred to pedestrians on foot. The good news? Few of these accidents are fatal. In fact, there are only .63 fatalities per 100,000.

pedestrians table of collisionsSource: (page 11)

What does this mean to you? That you don’t need to spend a ton of time sweating the chances that you or a loved one will be killed while walking along the road in Halifax.

However, we do recommend the following tips when walking:

  • Always use a sidewalk or the shoulder of a road versus walking in the road
  • When crossing the street, use a crosswalk, either marked or unmarked (both are roughly as safe)
  • Be extremely careful when crossing at a traffic signal, as that’s where the majority of pedestrian accidents occur.

pedestrian collisions by control type (page 15)

Also, be careful when walking after school or work; dusk is when the most accidents occur:

pedestrian collisions by time of day (page 15)

Digital Dangers Now, with the advent of ever-greater advances in digital technology, new dangers are rearing their heads on Canadian roadways, as well as around the world. One Vancouver couple lost their unborn child after a distracted driver plowed into them. This is becoming more and more common, leading Canadian lawmakers to consider increasing the fines associated with distracted driving … which as of the time of the accident were less than $200 in British Columbia, where the crash took place. They have since been raised to $368.

Here in Nova Scotia the provincial government increased the fines last year for distracted driving. As of February 1, 2015 the new fines are:

  • $233.95 for a first offence (rising from $176.45)
  • $348.95 for a second offence (rising from $233.95)
  • $578.95 for a third or subsequent offence (up from $348.95)

Other even more exotic dangers lurk as well. The Google self-driving car, for instance, has suffered its share of setbacks in an effort to pave the way for a safer, more regulated driving world. While Google says the cars have not been responsible for any of the accidents that have yet occurred – 14 in 6 years, reports CBC News – the idea of cars helmed by robots and algorithms rather than humans does have some people nervous. Still, the best approach is still to maintain the highest degree of roadway awareness and safety, whether you are walking, bicycling, riding or driving.

Protect Yourself, Protect Your Family
So what’s the bottom line? Why do you need to know about all these statistics? Well, first of all, it does help to know what actions will put you in the most danger, and which will keep you safest. Staying on sidewalks and using crosswalks, for instance, are the best way to ensure your safety if you are walking. Ditto driving defensively and making sure children have the appropriate protection.

It’s also important to get the help you need if the worst does happen. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you should get help from a personal injury lawyer who is experienced in car accident claims. It’s possible the accident wasn’t your fault, in which case you can seek damages and compensation from the responsible party. Maybe you were both at fault, in which case you will want to ensure you don’t have to take more than your fair share of the blame, or perhaps you need help even determining who was at fault and would like a lawyer’s help sorting through the information.

It’s only natural to be worried about damages to your car and your own personal well-being, which is why we recommend speaking to a lawyer as soon as possible. Recording the incident, creating records for any injuries to your person or destruction to your car, and writing out reports of what you think happened are all good steps to take to prepare to make your case.

When you’re ready to speak to a knowledgeable, professional representative about your accident, give us a call at McKiggan Hebert. We look forward to helping you.

Want some more information?
We have been representing victims of serious personal injuries for more than 25 years. We wrote the public legal education guide Crash Course: The Consumer’s Guide to Car Accident Claims in Nova Scotia to help educate car accident victims and their families so they can have a better chance of receiving full and fair compensation. Crash Course is available for sale on Amazon. Sale proceeds go to charity. But if you live in Nova Scotia, you can get a free copy of the book by CONTACTING US HERE, or by calling us at 888-510-3577.

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