Poor visibility among problems on roads

Higher accident numbers involving pedestrians common in fall and winter

Pedestrians cross Douglas Street on Monday morning. Police and ICBC are asking both motorists and pedestrians to take more care to avoid accidents on the road at this time of year.

The shortest days of the year can also be some of the most dangerous for pedestrians, according to recent accident figures released by the province.

There have been 13 pedestrian fatalities across B.C. in the past six weeks, according to the B.C. Coroners Service.

Locally, the Victoria Police Department saw an extraordinary day last week (Dec. 4), when four pedestrians were struck by vehicles.

One of those incidents left a 51-year-old man with a broken femur and pelvis, after he was hit by a pickup truck as he used a marked crosswalk on Fort Street near Stanley Avenue.

“The research shows clearly that we are just heading into the most dangerous time of the year for pedestrians,” chief B.C. coroner Lisa Lapointe wrote in a report analyzing all 221 pedestrian deaths between 2008 and 2011.

“During the last four years, almost one-quarter of the pedestrian deaths occurred in December and January.”

Surprisingly, road conditions and vehicle speed were not common factors in pedestrian fatalities, the report found.

Year-over-year provincial ICBC numbers show that during November and December there is an 80-per-cent average increase in crashes involving pedestrians, compared to July and August.

An average of 330 pedestrians are injured every year on Vancouver Island in traffic incidents, according to ICBC.

“The solution to this does not involve a government program,” said Alan Perry, vice-chair of the Capital Regional District’s traffic safety commission.

“A lot of cyclists, and particularly pedestrians, don’t drive, so they don’t realize how much less visibility there is inside a vehicle.”

Some Greater Victoria municipalities have even removed certain crosswalks, as they give pedestrians a false sense of safety, Perry said.

Crosswalks with flashing overhead lights, as well as Ontario’s “point your way to safety” campaign – where pedestrians hold out an arm while crossing the street – have been found to do little to decrease pedestrian-related crashes, he said.

“We end up with a lot of broken arms and a lot of people injured.”

The CRD will begin airing radio ads in the coming weeks that urge pedestrians to make themselves seen, by wearing reflective gear and ensuring they make eye contact with drivers before stepping into the path of vehicles.

“Pedestrians have the right of way at any intersection, but you don’t want to be dead right,” Perry said.

The CRD traffic safety commission meets tomorrow (Dec. 13) to discuss possible solutions to pedestrian injuries and deaths involving left-turning vehicles, which account for roughly one-fifth of pedestrian-vehicle collisions, he said.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

ICBC’s safety tips for any time of year

Pedestrians:

• Wear bright or light-coloured clothing. In dark conditions or in bad weather, wear reflective material on your clothes (sleeves, shoes, cap or jacket).

• Remove headphones and put away your cellphone or other gadgets to make sure you’re prepared for the unexpected.

• Make eye contact with drivers, so you know you see each other.

• Use designated crossing points and obey traffic signals.

• Before stepping off the curb, look left and right for oncoming vehicles. Then look left again for vehicles that may be turning onto the roadway from beside or behind you.

Drivers:

• Always yield to pedestrians at intersections. It’s the law.

• If a vehicle is stopped in front of you or one lane over, they may be yielding for a pedestrian, so be prepared to stop.

• When you approach an intersection, scan left and right for pedestrians.

• Be extra cautious and watch for pedestrians when making a left or right-hand turn.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

When crisis hits: How West Shore RCMP have dealt with the pandemic

More front-line officers on road in mobile offices

Sidney staff recommends additional outdoor seating for restaurants and cafes

Report before council also leaves open possibility of closing a portion of Beacon Avenue

French fries to juicy tomatoes, rock art brings joy to walkers in Victoria

James Bay yard filled with painted rocks delights all ages

‘Depression-era’ unemployment figures could hit Greater Victoria

South Island Prosperity Project launches new dashboard to measure effects of COVID-19

Langford bartender hosts singalong livestream for seniors

Live Senior Singalong takes place daily at 1 p.m. on Facebook

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Most Read