Friday, February 19, 2010

No pattern seen in pedestrian deaths?

A rash of pedestrian deaths in Toronto over a two-week period in January was not caused by anything specific, police have told a citizen group.

The victims were from every age group over 25, the collisions occurred at all times of day, all over the city and during varying weather conditions.

"That's why you cannot put a lot of weight into that two-week period," Sgt. Tim Burrows told the Toronto Pedestrian Committee on Tuesday.

He went on to say:

"In this case (seniors), it was only 20 per cent," he said. "It was against the norms for everything, which basically says it was a spike."

Similar blips are seen every few years, he said.


Soooo, there is some sort of pattern then, right? It's just maybe not the one you're looking for? Could this be a systematic issue that comes up at certain times of the year due to 'perfect storm' scenarios? And if so, what are the contributing factors to such a scenario? Do these 'blips' always happen in January? Do they always during snowless winters when more people are walking unexpectedly?

I don't know, but I'd sure love to get my hands on the statistics. Required with these statistics would be population density, traffic (pedestrian and motor), infrastructure, rules and enforcement at strike areas, types of collisions, etc. I'm pretty sure this analytical study wouldn't take more than 2-3 weeks for someone with the information and motivation. Such a study could also significantly impact the way we think about analyzing and organizing our city. Pattern recognition is something the brain does best. Sure, stats can lie, but only if you want them to.

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