A statistical study by Global News of pedestrian accidents 2000-2009 has found that the end of November is the most dangerous time of year for pedestians. Eight out of the ten worst days for vehicles hitting pedestrians were between Nov. 21 and Nov. 30.
The City of Toronto pedestrian collision study (PDF) showed an increase in pedestrian collisions during the months when the days are getting shorter and are at their shortest — October to January. It seemed to suggest that increasing darkness — probably during rush hour — was a cause of increasing collisions, but the report refused to delve into this question more deeply.
The concentration of bad days in late November is startling, however. The Global story suggests that it’s because darkness is just starting to fall right at the evening rush hour, which fits with the overall pattern. The concentration in late November (along with the brief spike after the clocks change in October) suggests, more specifically, that it takes drivers and pedestrians a week or so to adjust to the new reality.
There are things the City (and/or the Province) could do to alleviate this problem, such as a public education campaign ahead of these periods to get people to start adjusting before the change in light happens.
Also interesting was the finding that the safest days for pedestrians are holidays (even the dark ones through Christmas/New Year’s). It seems likely that’s because there are far fewer cars on the road (on some of these days, like Canada Day, there are lots of pedestrians about).
In any case, this is the most dangerous time of year for pedestrians, so both drivers and pedestrians, please be careful.