THIS month, ICBC and police are launching a pedestrian safety campaign to urge pedestrians and drivers to stay safe as crashes involving pedestrians nearly double at this time of year.
Nearly half of all pedestrian fatalities occur between October and January as the weather changes and daylight hours decrease.
In B.C., an average of 52 pedestrians are killed and 2,400 injured in 2,700 crashes every year. More than half (roughly 55 per cent) of fatalities occur between October and January. An average of 1,080 pedestrians are injured in crashes between October and January compared to 570 pedestrians who are injured between May and August. (ICBC data based on five-year average from 2016 to 2020.)
Pedestrian safety is of significant importance in B.C. – pedestrians are among the most vulnerable road users when a crash occurs. Distracted driving and failing to yield the right-of-way are the top contributing factors for drivers in crashes with pedestrians, with more than three-quarters of crashes involving pedestrians occurring at intersections.
Drivers should take extra time to scan for pedestrians near transit stops and before turning at intersections, avoid distractions and be ready to yield.
Pedestrians can help stay safe by making eye contact with drivers, watching for drivers turning left or right at intersections, and using designated crosswalks.
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.
This year’s campaign features online advertising that reminds drivers: you see pedestrians when you really look for them.
Tips for drivers
* Focus on the road. Always leave your phone alone while driving.
* Be ready to yield to pedestrians, especially when turning at intersections and near transit stops.
* If a vehicle is stopped in front of you or in the lane next to you, they may be yielding for a pedestrian.
* Expect the unexpected, even mid-block, as pedestrians may not be crossing within a crosswalk.
Tips for safe walking
* Be careful at intersections. Watch for drivers turning left or right through the crosswalk. Drivers may be focused on oncoming traffic and not see you.
* Always use crosswalks and follow the pedestrian signs and traffic signals.
* Make eye contact with drivers, as it’s hard to see pedestrians when visibility is poor in fall and winter. Never assume that a driver has seen you.
* Remove your headphones and take a break from your phone while crossing the road.
* Be as reflective as possible to make it easier for drivers to see you in wet weather, at dusk and at night.
Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee, says: “This time of year as daylight hours shorten and bad weather increases, police see a growing number of crashes involving pedestrians. These are particularly tragic as pedestrians are vulnerable road users, and often include children, the elderly or the distracted. We each have a part to play to in making our streets safer.
“Distracted driving and failing to stop for pedestrians at intersections are far too frequent reasons for crashes with pedestrians. And pedestrians need to be careful, visible and aware. Turn down or remove an earbud, and take a break from your phone when crossing the road. Reflective gear, particularly on anything moving like arms and legs, helps pedestrians be far more visible to drivers. All simple things that your life and the lives of others could depend on.”
Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s Vice President of Public Affairs and Driver Licensing, adds: “We’re urging both pedestrians and drivers to do their part to keep our roads safe as daylight hours decrease and weather conditions change. Crashes involving pedestrians are highest between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. every day when many of us are commuting home. It’s important for drivers to leave their phone alone and for pedestrians to stay focused on what’s going on around them.”