Last week the BC coroner reported that car accidents in BC have been declining but that pedestrian fatalities have not changed. Between 50 and 60 pedestrians are killed each year. These are not car accident but preventable incidents.
Pedestrian and driver interaction at large public events
The fall is on us, but there are still lots of public events happening that attract large numbers of people who are moving through city streets on foot.
In Vancouver we have Rogers Arena, BC Place and numerous other venues that attract large numbers of people in one place. Although, Vancouver police are great at closing streets and directing traffic, these events can be very hazardous to the safety of pedestrians. Events like Vancouver Canucks hockey games, the Vancouver Lions football games, WE Day, Tedx, and various music concerts fill our city streets with people who are not always thinking about public safety. The sidewalks are full, people jay walk, dart out between cars and fight to get a taxicab. Drivers have to be extra cautious when navigating the roads during busy event times.
Over 50 pedestrian deaths in BC each year
Pedestrian fatalities represent 15.6% of vehicle-related fatalitiesCBC Vancouver interviewed Kelly Barnard Executive Medical Director at BC Coroners Service reports, “Over the last decade the total number of motor vehicle incident fatalities have dropped, not only in BC but across Canada. But sadly the number of fatalities in involving pedestrians has remained fairly constant. In BC on average we see 50 to 60 fatalities a year,” reports Barnard.
Paul Warnett, a Vancouver personal injury lawyer tells us, “After a pedestrian is killed or injured on our streets it is tempting to play the blame game. The pedestrian is always going to lose in an accident involving a motor vehicle. Both drivers and pedestrians can take steps to protect pedestrians from suffering serious injuries or death and to follow these steps more closely as it now dark during the morning and evening commutes.”
Halloween street safety
This year Halloween is on a Saturday so communities and neighbourhoods across BC will be very busy with little and big ghouls and goblins. According to ICBC, based on a five year average (2005-2009) there are 290 car accident crashes and 110 injuries in the lower mainland between 3 pm and midnight on Halloween days. We want to encourage everyone to stay alert and stay safe, so that we can reduce or eliminate pedestrian and car accident strikes.
Tips for pedestrian safety
- Illuminate yourself: if wearing dark clothing try to light up yourself, bag or umbrella. There are various ways to achieve this – by wearing reflective vests, or tape, put a flashlight or blinking light on your case or backpack, wear glow bracelets or carry a light-up umbrella if it is raining.
- Stop, look and listen: take the time to stop at intersections or crosswalks. Ensure you have made eye contact with the driver before stepping off the curb.
- Follow the rules you learned in grade one: Stay on the sidewalks, cross at corners and don’t jaywalk.
Driver beware on Halloween
We encourage everyone especially in residential neighbourhoods to park the car between 6 pm and 10 pm on Halloween night. The less traffic on the road the better. You can bet that the candy monsters will not be paying attention to drivers as much as the next candy score. If you do need to be out keep in mind the following:
- Travel well below speed limits.
- Ensure headlights are on, even if it is still daylight.
- Don’t reverse in residential neighborhoods.
- When exiting alleyways do so very slowly, as kids will be darting across
- Look for children jay walking and crossing diagonally.
- If raining ensure your wipers are working and side mirrors are wiped dry.
- Do not pass cars stopped on the roadway, they may be letting children out.
- Don’t follow your child in the car. Park it and get out and walk through the neighbourhood while they trick or treat.
- And it goes without saying, don’t drive under the influence or distracted.
We want to see the ghosts who are still alive this Halloween season, so everyone stay safe, be alert and don’t be a ghost buster.