2,300 pedestrians hurt in B.C. car crashes every year, 70% in Metro Vancouver: ICBC
Insurer and police kick off safety awareness week as deadliest season arrives on streets of the Lower Mainland, where 70 per cent of the injuries occur.
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Watch for jaywalkers. Look before turning right on a red. Don’t squeeze between people on that crosswalk.
And for crying out loud, put your damn phone away already.
Many of us have witnessed dangerously close calls between motorists and pedestrians. But as the region’s most fatal average months arrive, authorities are pleading for people to hits the brakes on risky road encounters, seven-in-10 of which happen at intersections according to ICBC.
“Drivers involved in crashes with pedestrians are often distracted or fail to yield the right of way,” said Delta Police Department Chief Constable Neil Dubord, who chairs the B.C. Association of Chiefs’ Police Traffic Safety Committee, in a statement Tuesday. “These behaviours are not only against the law, they’re simply unacceptable.”
On average, 2,300 pedestrians are injured in traffic accidents every year in the province, and 59 killed, according to four years of Insurance Corporation of B.C. data. Seven in 10 of the injuries occurred in the Lower Mainland.
The data, averaged over five years between 2011 and 2015, also show that just below half of those killed — 46 per cent — occurred from October to January.
Earlier this month, Metro reported on one of the three pedestrians struck in an Aug. 29 crash in Vancouver’s Yaletown neighbourhood — in which the two people in a Lexus SUV died after it careened at high speed onto the sidewalk.
At time of publication, Steve Yorke’s online fundraising campaign to help cover his uninsured rehabilitation costs had nearly reached $20,000.
Although those behind the wheel are most liable for accidents involving pedestrians, police reminded foot-travelers they can help protect themselves.
On Tuesday, Vancouver police took to the city’s streets near Quebec Street and Terminal Avenue to start their week of pedestrian safety awareness activities.
“Pedestrians can help stay safe by making eye contact, wearing bright and reflective clothing, and staying focused on the road,” said ICBC in a statement. The provincial agency announced it would hand out reflectors and safety tip across the province, as well as place transit and radio advertisements, targeting areas with “high volumes of pedestrian traffic.”
Likewise, North Vancouver RCMP kicked off its own three-month safety campaign this week by focusing on pedestrians “to help change the public’s behaviour at intersections,” the force said in a release.
“Both motorist and pedestrian behaviour must change, especially at controlled intersections,” the statement said, explaining that the most dangerous October to December period was the result of lower-visibility weather including rain and fog, slippery road surfaces and shorter days heading into winter.
Fashion was also partly to blame, the RCMP argued, thanks to “the reality that pedestrians do not wear any reflective clothing to make them themselves more easily seen by vehicle drivers.”
The North Vancouver force singled out walkers who race to beat the crosswalk countdown clock to start their crossing.
“The countdown clock indicates ‘time to clear the intersection’ NOT ‘time to start walking’!” it said.
Disobeying a pedestrian signal or jaywalking — “fail to use cross walk” — can net a $109 fine, just $12 less than the penalty for driving through a red light.