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Pedestrian Safety for Multicultural Seniors

Posted on Nov 16, 2009

Last November 12, 2009, sixteen Mandarin-speaking seniors had a training on Pedestrian Safety at Toronto 42 Division Police Station at 242 Milner Road. The interactive participatory training workshop was uniquely designed to bring awareness, understanding, and communication on the issue of pedestrian safety. St. Paul's L’Amoreaux Centre’s Mandarin-speaking volunteers performed a typical scenario which stimulated participants' insight and discussion on pedestrian safety. It brought to light the concerns and practical solutions that were not only realistic and workable, but also tailored to a culturally diverse audience. Everyone was actively engaged in discussing their issues related to pedestrian safety such as the lack of crosswalks on certain roads and rules governing the use of bicycles. Police Constables Gary Gomez and Jack Wield answered questions in a manner that encouraged self-advocacy, for example, connecting to local officials through a formal letter making them aware of the pedestrian situation at certain places and sharing pedestrian safety tips with family and friends. The activity culminated with a tour of the Toronto Police Station 42 Division.

The training is timely and necessary considering that every year, 70, 000 pedestrians are injured in Canada. According to Toronto Police, from January 1 to October 1 2009, seniors made up 13% of pedestrian collisions and 41% of fatalities. Pedestrian seniors are especially prone to road accidents for many reasons. Taking short cuts, slower reflexes and the reliance on mobility aids, are among the concerns in safe road crossings. Although for the most part, safety is actually a common sense mentality, an understanding and awareness of strategy is needed to convey its implications to result in a positive change in attitude.

Seniors And Law Enforcement Together, (S.A.L.T.), is a partnership of seniors in the community, Toronto Police 42 Division and St. Paul’s L’Amoreaux Centre. S.A.L.T. is a senior-led and implemented, volunteer based organization designed to meet the needs of seniors in Scarborough by addressing their crime and safety concerns. The goal of S.A.L.T. is to raise awareness of potential crime related and safety issues and to empower seniors to reduce their victimization.

For more information about the project or to request for a workshop, please call 416 – 493 – 3333 ext 227.