Opinion Perspective

After Toronto, sidewalks seem dangerous

Pedestrians walk near traffic in Toronto. (Mugdha Gurram/YJI)

Croton-on-Hudson, NEW YORK – The driver of a van speeding across Toronto sidewalks this week hit and killed 10 pedestrians and wounding 14, according to The Star, one of the city’s newspapers.

Whether this act was deliberate or accidental is still being investigated, but one thing is for sure: these events have left walkers in a state of panic.

As someone who walks to school every day, I’ve seen my fair share of speeding cars, distracted drivers, and unaware pedestrians.

Whenever I see a car going particularly fast, I immediately think, “Oh no, will they run into the sidewalk?” Of course, each time my worries are unnecessary, but nonetheless that sheer fear stays with me.

To imagine a car actually speeding onto the sidewalk with a trail of bodies following it is unthinkable for someone who has spent as much time walking through a busy town during morning rush hour as I have.

Car crashes are terrifying, but imagine walking to work for reasons that may or may not have anything to do with a fear of car crashes. You are doing everything right, looking both ways and staying on the sidewalk whenever possible. All of a sudden, a car comes bolting towards you.

You’ve done everything in your control to stay out of harm’s (otherwise known as traffic’s) way, but this driver has disregarded traffic regulations in a way that has negatively impacted you.

Does this mean that no matter what you do to put yourself in a safe position, you can still be harmed? That thought is quite unnerving.

Although the Toronto van attack was under very different circumstances, since it may have been deliberate, those who choose to walk are in a dangerous position.

For many, not walking is not an option. In cities like Toronto, parking is limited and public transport is a short walk away. Some people can’t afford a car. Some kids aren’t provided with a bus ride to school and they have to walk.

Those who choose to walk for environmental or religious purposes are at risk as well.

It really is unfortunate that we live in a place where there could not only be a car crash, or someone jumping the curb, but that someone would intentionally run over pedestrians.

The fact that people are in danger just walking to work or school is extremely upsetting.

Isabel Slippen is a Junior Reporter for Youth Journalism International.

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