When Brit Taylor stepped off the curb on Danforth Avenue, she just wanted to visit her sister as quickly as possible.
She paid for her haste with two weeks on bedrest after being hit by a van.
And for others who jaywalk, Taylor has this message: “It’s not worth it.”
The 23-year-old shared her story Thursday, Sept. 27, as police held a pedestrian safety blitz at 13 busy intersections across Toronto.
Taylor was jaywalking while listening to music on her iPod when a blue cargo van hit her on Danforth near Carlaw Avenue around 11:30 a.m. Aug. 27.
“I’m leaving the gym, grabbed some walnuts, started crossing the street,” she said. “The traffic was a little dead, and instead of going up to the lights, I decided to cross behind and weave through traffic.”
She made it across two lanes. As she stepped into the third, she noticed a van coming towards her. But it was too late to avoid a collision.
“It took me forward instead of running me over, so I got lucky with that,” Taylor said.
A team of firefighters also happened to be nearby and tended to her until paramedics arrived.
Taylor suffered serious injuries and was bedridden for two weeks. She still walks with a bit of a limp and hasn’t been able to return to work.
“I’m that type of person where I’m always on the go,” said Taylor, noting jaywalking became a habit.
Now she vows never to do it again.
“I pay a lot more attention. I like to make eye contact now with anybody that I’m crossing in front of,” she said. “I’m a lot slower, taking my time, and a lot more conscious of what’s going on around me.”
That’s also the message police gave pedestrians during the “Smart Walk” initiative, which took place between 8:30 and 11 a.m. Thursday.
“The intent is not to give out tickets but to share some safety information,” Toronto police Sgt. Jack West said. “When they’re crossing at an intersection, we’re trying to encourage pedestrians to put their cellphone down, walk across the street and scan, watch for turning vehicles.”
Despite what she’s been through, Taylor said she wants to send an apology letter to the motorist who struck her.
“It’s going to be traumatic for him, too. He just hit somebody. He’s probably livid at me,” she said. “I want him to know I’m really sincerely sorry.”
Seventeen pedestrians have died as a result of collisions in the city so far this year. And many more have been injured.
“You think it’s not going to happen to you, but it definitely can,” Taylor said. “Just don’t jaywalk.”