Ontario is the latest jurisdiction to toy with Zombie Walking laws. The intent of these laws is to ban people from walking along city streets and sidewalks from using their devices. Anyone who's been out on the streets lately has noticed the disturbing trend of people walking along who are glued to their device and oblivious to their surroundings.
There have been significant increases in the number of pedestrians (and cyclists) being hit and killed by cars on Ontario streets this year and the police and politicians are looking for solutions to the problem. A factor in many collisions is the distracted walker, but the other distraction is the distracted or inattentive driver.
The proposed Ontario legislation will see pedestrians who cross the street while on a device slapped with a $50 fine for their first offence, and up to $125 for the third. This isn’t going to solve the problem of pedestrian safety on our ever busier roadways.
Ontario’s cities and roads have always been designed for the efficient movement of cars. Cyclists and pedestrians are an after thought in every regard. Perhaps the money that will be spent on passing and enforcing this legislation could be put to better use creating dedicated bike lanes, better sidewalks, signage, safer crosswalk technologies and enforcement against drivers.
In no way am I suggesting that crossing the street while looking at your phone or other device is a good idea. It isn’t. I have never seen a car/pedestrian accident where the car was more injured than the person. It doesn’t matter who has the right of way. You should always be paying full attention to the road and all the traffic when you are crossing the street.