March 31, 2020

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Two teen pedestrians struck, injured on Ness Avenue

Two teenaged pedestrians were hit by a car at a Ness Avenue crosswalk Wednesday morning, and later transported to hospital in unstable condition.

At about 7:50 a.m., a sedan travelling on Ness past Woodlawn Street (where the speed limit is 60 kilometres per hour) struck the teens, whose ages have not been released.

The teens have since been upgraded to stable, the Winnipeg Police Service later said, and an investigation is underway to determine the causes and sequence of events that led to the collision.

As of the early afternoon, police said no arrests had been made, nor any charges laid in connection with the incident.

Police couldn't verify onlookers' reports the pedestrians had the right of way while crossing. But, according to Manitoba Public Insurance data culled from traffic accident reports, having the right of way has been far from a guarantee a pedestrian will cross a road safely.

Between 2013 and 2017, an average of about 43 per cent of pedestrians injured or killed on Manitoba roadways — whose actions prior to the collision are known — were hit at intersections while they had the right of way. In 2018, the figure was 37.3 per cent.

The data for 2019 is not yet available, however, historic data indicates about half of all pedestrian deaths occur at an intersection. As of Nov. 30, 16 pedestrians had been killed on public roadways so far this year, outpacing the five-year annual average fatality rate (12) and tying the all-time high.

In recent years, the involvement rate of pedestrians (per 100,000 Manitobans) in collisions in the province has climbed substantially. The 2018 rate of 16.7 represents a nearly 50 per cent increase over the 2013-17 annual average.

Every age demographic saw a marked increase in involvement rate in 2018, as compared with the five-year trends.

Last year, of 227 pedestrians killed or injured, nearly one-fifth were under the age of 20 (with two fatalities). One was an eight-year-old boy hit at a crosswalk on St. Anne's Road and Varennes Avenue.

A 30-minute walk south of that intersection, at St. Anne's and Beliveau roads, Kelly McMurrich says her 14-year-old daughter was hit by a car two weeks ago, while crossing with the right of way and a crossing guard nearby.

"She crossed, and the lady slammed on her brakes too late," McMurrich said. The car hit her daughter, and the driver got out, yelled at the teen, and drove off.

Her daughter wasn't injured, but McMurrich said she was frustrated to hear of others teenagers getting struck and injured while simply trying to get where they were going.

It has yet to be determined how fast the vehicle which hit the teens on Ness was driving, however, research has determined the probability of pedestrian fatalities or severe injuries caused by vehicular collisions drops significantly as speed decreases.

Ben Waldman

Ben Waldman

Ben Waldman covers a little bit of everything for the Free Press.

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