Allstate Canada numbers sent out Thursday show that Halifax ranks last out of 81 communities, with the highest frequency of collisions over the last two years.
For its annual study, Allstate used customer data from communities in provinces where the company has agency locations: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Alberta. Statistics were collected from 2013 to 2015, with Halifax showing a 24 per cent increase in collisions from the previous two-year period.
Deanna Lumax, manager of the Allstate branch at Dartmouth Crossing, said the winter wallop of snow and ice the city received over the last year contributed to the numbers, particularly since two years ago Nova Scotia, as a whole, had the lowest collision rate of any province in the study.
“I think that certainly had a major impact,” Lumax said.
Her office received “significant” weather-related claims from February to April of this year, she said.
“I think it’s certainly reflective of the winter that we had last year. I mean, that was abnormal for us in this area to have that volume of snow, and I just don’t think that people were necessarily prepared for that.”
While the exact number of vehicles is not included, communities with at least 1,500 cars insured by Allstate Canada during the study period were used in the survey.
A local breakdown on the type of collisions, such as whether it involves a pedestrian, was not included.
Bedford was the best Nova Scotia community on the list, 22nd out of 81, with a six per cent decrease in collisions. Hammonds Plains showed a 66 per cent increase, but was still in the middle of the pack, while Lower Sackville showed a 30 per cent increase in the frequency of collision claims. Dartmouth was ranked 52nd, and had a 30 per cent increase in claims.
Meanwhile, Halifax Regional Police released numbers to the municipal crosswalk safety advisory committee Thursday morning that showed a worrying trend in the frequency of collisions involving pedestrians.
From January to October, there were 220 collisions involving vehicles, pedestrians or bicycles in Halifax Regional Municipality. Of those, 153 were collisions between a vehicle and pedestrian, resulting in injuries or worse to 157 people.
That represents 31 fewer incidents, or a 16.85 per cent decrease, from the same period last year. However, there has been an upwards trend recently, with 60 of those vehicle-pedestrian crashes occurring since August.
During the same period, there has been 22 incidents involving pedestrians in areas covered by the RCMP, representing a jump of 57 per cent from 2014.
Const. Dianne Woodworth, a Halifax Regional Police spokeswoman, said there are a lot of factors that play into the uptick in crashes involving pedestrians.
“Obviously people are going back to school, people are finishing their vacation, we had the time change, which impacts people, and the weather is changing,” she said.
Coun. Gloria McCluskey (Dartmouth Centre) normally sits on the crosswalk safety advisory committee but skipped Thursday’s meeting to visit her sister, who is in the hospital recovering after being hit while in a crosswalk at the corner of Woodland Avenue and Slayter Street.
McCluskey said her sister, Dorothy Bond LeBlanc, was hit at 3 p.m. on Oct. 26 and suffered three broken bones in her leg. The driver was fined, McCluskey said.
“She might get home for Christmas,” she said.
“I’m discouraged with this whole crosswalk thing. How many people did we have hit over the last three days?”
Awareness and education campaigns are one thing, but McCluskey said she would like to see an increased focus on enforcement of the rules around crosswalks.
“We have to start fining the pedestrians who don’t obey the crosswalk laws, and we have to start parking at some of these crosswalks and charging these car drivers.
“When (pedestrians are) in those crosswalks, and they go across when they’re not supposed to be crossing, they should be fined.”
Woodworth said police are being vigilant when it comes to enforcing the rules.
“We are proactive with trying to help both drivers and pedestrians to be safer. If a ticket is appropriate, a ticket is issued, whether it be the pedestrian or the driver.”
With winter fast approaching, she said it’s imperative that people walk and drive defensively.
“People just need to remember that when they’re behind the wheel, they should just focus on driving, and when pedestrians are walking, regardless of where they are, they have to pay attention. I assume, as a pedestrian or if I’m out running, that the people who are driving aren’t looking.”