Road safety a concern for both drivers and pedestrians: ICBC survey

Every year in B.C., 59 pedestrians are killed and 2,500 are injured, with 76 per cent of these crashes occurring at intersections


A new ICBC survey reveals that nine in 10 drivers worry about hitting a pedestrian at night and in wet weather, and eight in 10 pedestrians don’t feel safe in these conditions.

In preparation for the darker skies and drizzly weather to come, ICBC, the government and police on Wednesday launched a pedestrian safety campaign across the province.

Alarmingly, a disproportionate number of pedestrian-related crashes and injuries happen in just four months of the year—43 per cent of all crashes that injure pedestrians happen between October and January as visibility and conditions get worse.

Pedestrian safety is a serious concern in B.C. Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road user to get injured when a crash occurs. These preventable crashes are also contributing to the rising number of injury claims in our province—the largest single cost pressure on B.C. insurance rates.

Dark and rainy conditions can seriously impact visibility. ICBC’s new radio and online advertising builds on this by reminding drivers: you see pedestrians when you really look for them. Keep your eyes on the road: take a break from your phone, be extra alert at intersections and be ready to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.

The most important tip if you’re walking is to take extra care to help drivers see you: stay focused on the road and make eye contact. ICBC and community policing volunteers will be handing out reflectors and safety tips in high pedestrian traffic areas across the province to help pedestrians stay visible.

In addition to this month-long campaign, ICBC helps make roads safer for vulnerable road users through its road improvement program. Last year, ICBC invested in more than 160 pedestrian and cyclist-related projects in B.C. These projects included crosswalks, sidewalks, countdown timers and pedestrian-activated flashing crosswalks.

Every year in B.C., 59 pedestrians are killed and 2,500 are injured, with 76 per cent of these crashes occurring at intersections.

As the majority of pedestrian crashes occur at intersections, the intersection safety camera program is one of the ways we are working to improve road safety for everyone sharing the road. A partnership between ICBC, government and police for almost 20 years, there are 140 cameras set up at the highest-risk intersections in 26 communities in B.C. to change driver behaviour and reduce the number of crashes at intersections. We are working with our partners to extend the activation to be 24/7.

Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee, said: “Distracted driving and failing to yield the right-of-way remain the top contributing factors for drivers in crashes involving pedestrians. These are dangerous driving behaviours which will not be tolerated by police.”

Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s director responsible for road safety, added: “Three-quarters of pedestrian crashes happen at intersections. Unfortunately, pedestrians are extremely vulnerable to be hurt when involved in a crash. These crashes contribute to the rising number of injury claims in our province, which is the largest single cost pressure on B.C. insurance rates, but the reality is, these crashes are preventable. We all need to do our part to keep our roads and pedestrians safe.”