Lessons from grade school

It’s been a bad few weeks for pedestrians in Greater Victoria.

It’s been a bad few weeks for pedestrians in Greater Victoria.

Last week a truck struck and killed an elderly woman crossing Douglas Street. On Tuesday morning, a pickup struck a man walking across a crosswalk on Fort Street. Later that night, Victoria police responded to three hit-and-runs involving pedestrians and vehicles, fortunately with only minor injuries reported.

Each incident has its own circumstances, and in many cases drivers need to slow down and pay attention. But blame for pedestrians being hit can’t be entirely heaped on drivers – people need to be much more accountable for their own physical safety.

In studies and observations by the Capital Region Traffic Safety Commission, pedestrians can be surprisingly cavalier about their personal well-being while crossing the street.

In cases, pedestrians have activated flashing signs or walk signals, and crossed without so much as a sideways glance. With increasing frequency, people cross head-down while texting, emailing or watching videos on smartphones.

Many people assume that because they have the legal right-of-way in a crosswalk, traffic will automatically come to a halt. That’s a dangerous game of chicken, and legal rights are cold comfort after being mowed down by a 2,000 kilogram speeding box of metal.

It has been borne out in jurisdictions across North America that the “safer” a crosswalk is designed – flashing lights, high-visibility paint and lights embedded in crosswalk lines – the more pedestrians are hit.

This may seem counterintuitive, but Alan Perry, vice-chair of the Capital Region Traffic Safety Commission, says that the safer people feel when crossing the road, the less attention they pay to traffic. Signalized crosswalks create a “force field” mentality, he says.

For pedestrians, the answer to road safety come from grade school lessons. Wear clothing that can be seen, look both ways before crossing the road, make eye contact with drivers and don’t step out in front of moving traffic.

Just Posted

Avid Victoria cyclist’s legacy bike ride helps fund end-of-life care

2019 Denis Muloin Ride for Palliative Care invites cyclists for May 26 fundraiser

Funnyman coming to the West Shore

Comedy and television staple Billy Gardell performs at Elements Casino

Saanich Police take down snake camera

Snake first seen in December 2018 has remained elusive

121st Victoria Day Parade takes over Douglas Street

Rainclouds don’t keep Victorians away from yearly parade

Police-run Youth for Change and Inclusion camp bids fond farewell to tireless directors

Founder Sgt. Paul Brookes has run camp empowering youth and creating leaders for 16 years

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Most Read