YOU know the formula for changing your clocks when Daylight Saving Time ends or begins: “Fall Back, Spring Forward”?
Well, it’s the fall season, so as Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday (November 4), you put your clocks back an hour – and get an extra hour of sleep.
But darker, wetter days can lead to an increase in crashes on the street, and everyone can play a part in ensuring we all get home safely.
“The City of Vancouver has a goal to eliminate traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries from happening on our streets. Even when we build for safety, we need to work together as a community to raise awareness about the rules of the road and how we can all make sure we are travelling safely,” said Jerry Dobrovolny, General Manager of Engineering Services for the City of Vancouver, on Thursday. “We depend on everyone to take accountability for their daily behaviour, and rely on our partners from ICBC and VPD to help educate and enforce good behaviour.”
In particular, people walking are the most vulnerable. Among people walking, seniors are the most likely to suffer a serious injury or fatality as a result of a crash – whether it’s a collision with a car or a bicycle.
“Nearly half of all crashes with pedestrians happen between October and January, as visibility and conditions worsen,” said Aileen Shibata, ICBC road safety program manager. “Whether you’re driving or walking, the most important thing you can do is focus on the road. It’s up to each of us to do our part to help keep pedestrians safe.”
Collisions with people walking or wheeling are more frequent between 3 and 8 p.m. during hours of darkness in winter months. Although pedestrians are involved in less than 1 per cent of all traffic collisions, they account for 61 per cent of all traffic fatalities in Vancouver. In the last five years on average 40 per cent of the traffic related fatalities in the City of Vancouver have been seniors.
“Road safety is a shared responsibility,” says VPD Constable Anne-Marie Clark. “Through ongoing education and enforcement, we will continue to work with our partners to make our roadways safe for all pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.”
Practice road safety at all times:
* When driving: Slow down at intersections and wait until pedestrians have crossed the road. Make eye contact with people walking if possible. Do not pass people riding bikes unless you have 1.5 meters of space.
* When cycling: Take it slow (especially at intersections and roundabouts). Make eye contact with other road users if possible. Use front and rear bike lights. Take bike routes where possible. Yield to people walking.
* When walking: When crossing the street, make eye contact with drivers and cyclists if possible. Wear bright or reflective clothing to be more visible in the dark. Don’t jaywalk – use crosswalks and follow pedestrian signs and traffic signals.
Prepare for winter travel: Equip your car with winter tires. They are required by the Province of BC on some provincial highways. Having them ready to go will ensure you can safely get on your way to ski trips and get to work safely when snow hits.
We all have a role to play to keep our streets safe. Responsibility for safer streets depends on everyone being aware of their surroundings, regardless of their mode of travel.