Happy Vaisakhi – be safe on the road
UNLIKE most of Canada, spring has sprung in the Lower Mainland and that’s something to celebrate! It’s snowing cherry blossoms all over our streets and boulevards; it’s an amazing sight that I look forward to each spring.
Every year when the temperatures warm up and daylight increases, more pedestrians are out on our roads. Spring is also the start of seasonal outdoor events and activities like the upcoming Vaisakhi parades in Vancouver on April 12 and Surrey on April 19. Attendance is estimated at 80,000 in Vancouver and upwards of 200,000 in Surrey. That’s a lot of pedestrian traffic!
For these reasons, drivers need to be prepared to share the road with more pedestrians at this time of year. As a driver, you should always be watching for pedestrians but especially at intersections and transit locations. Give yourself plenty of space to stop in case a pedestrian suddenly crosses the street. Unfortunately, a pedestrian is much more vulnerable to being hurt or killed in a crash.
In fact, on average, 588 pedestrians are injured in crashes every year in Vancouver and 287 are injured in Surrey.
As a pedestrian, there are a few things you can do to keep yourself safe. Being safe means being visible to drivers: always make eye contact with drivers and wear bright clothing or reflective gear at night or whenever visibility is poor. It also comes down to making smart choices when you’re crossing the street: use designated crossing points and follow pedestrian traffic signs and signals. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the road facing traffic.
If you’re ready to celebrate spring, get out and join the crowds at Vaisakhi. For the first time, ICBC will be at the parades with OMNI TV, handing out pedestrian reflectors and safety tips to help you stay safe. I hope to see you there!
Regardless, enjoy your spring-time activities and please keep your full attention on the road whether you’re walking or driving.
Happy Vaisakhi to you and your family!
BY HARVEY KOONER
ICBC Road Safety Coordinator