News / Edmonton

Not so fast: professional driver says pedestrians need to take more care

Edmonton motorist hits back in favour of reflective tape ad.

This proposed City of Edmonton billboard ad sparked anger online.


This proposed City of Edmonton billboard ad sparked anger online.

A professional driver in Edmonton contacted Metro to say pedestrians need to take more responsibility for their own safety.

The driver, who was told by her employer she can face repercussions if Metro identifies her, spends her days driving Edmonton streets, and has for 40 years.  

She spoke out after the city spiked a proposed ad campaign that suggested pedestrians wear reflective clothing to avoid being hit.

The test ad was trounced on social media and the city was accused of victim blaming.

But the driver said she always puts reflective bands on herself and her dog when she goes out for walks at night — because she knows how hard it can be to see and stop for pedestrians.

“I drive in the early morning, so it’s pitch black. And (most people) are wearing extremely dark clothes,” she said.

“Once you’re close enough that your headlights are into that person, you haven’t got time to stop.”

She said people who don’t drive can be unaware of how difficult it is for motorists to see them crossing the street at night.

She also said she feels pedestrians have become less attentive and more confident over the years, with increasing use of earbuds and cellphones. She said she often even sees parents on their phones while their kids bolt into the road.

“Little children that are two and three that barely can walk are just running across the street,” she said.

That problem extends to drivers, of course, which she said is another reason pedestrians need to be visible and on alert.

“There are people that are so distracted when they’re driving … so they have to be looking at that, too,” she said.