In any contest between an average human and an 1,100 kg auto, the human will undoubtedly be the loser. According to the British Columbia Coroner’s Service, there were nearly 400 fatal traffic-related pedestrians deaths in the province between 2010 and 2016. That’s nearly 50 per year or one each week. While accidents can and do occur in all parts of the province, as one would expect the majority happen in Vancouver and other urban areas.
According to the Insurance Company of British Columbia:
- One out of every five people killed in a B.C. auto accident is a pedestrian.
- More than eight out of ten mainland B.C. pedestrian-vehicle incidents happen at intersections.
- Statistically, pedestrian-related crashes are most likely to occur on Fridays between 3 and 6 p.m.
A Shared Responsibility
Because the circumstances of individual incidents vary greatly, pedestrian deaths have no single cause. However, most B.C. residents are at times both automobile drivers and pedestrians.
Regardless of which role one is in at any moment, there is a shared responsibility for avoiding a tragedy.
- Slow Down: Human reaction times are somewhat fixed. As such, the ability to avoid a collision declines as speed increases. Observe posted speed limits (typically 50 kph in urban areas of B.C.).
- Be Aware of Conditions: Remember that posted speed limits are maximums. Compared to speeding violations, citations for violating the Motor Vehicle Act’s prohibition against impeding traffic by driving too slowly are rare.Moreover, the Coroner’s Service report cited above states that the rate of pedestrian fatalities consistently rises between October and January, when daylight hours are shorter and winter rain and snowstorms can obscure visibility.
- Avoid Distracted Driving: The Canadian Automobile Association reports that more than one-quarter of all fatal B.C. auto accidents in 2016 were attributable to driver distraction. While avoiding common distractions is important at all times, it becomes especially critical when visibility or traction are reduced or where there is heavy pedestrian traffic.
- Yield to Pedestrians in the Crosswalk: Yes, this is required by the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act, but a pedestrian’s right-of-way is not absolute, and some do flaunt the rules. Nevertheless, it’s fair to assume that few if any pedestrian fatalities result from a driver having yielded even when it wasn’t legally required.
- Patience Is a Virtue: Remember that some people, older and physically challenged folks in particular, may take longer to cross.
- Observe Traffic Signals and Crosswalks: Resist the temptation to save a few steps by crossing in the middle of the block, even if there are no vehicles in sight. If you’re with a young child, you will set an example that could one day save his or her life.
- Be Visible: From a fashion standpoint, dressing in dark colours is fine for most evening occasions, but it does make it harder for drivers to see you. Consider adding a couple of discreet reflective spots to your coat or purse. It can make a huge difference to drivers.
- Make Eye Contact: Once your eyes meet the driver’s, you know you’ve been seen.
- Stay Aware: Don’t assume drivers will see you. Keep your head up and avoid “distracted walking” (sending or reading text or e-mail messages, for example) when crossing the street.
British Columbia Auto-Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
If you’ve been injured by a distracted or inattentive driver while crossing the street, the team of lawyers at Diamond and Diamond is ready to help. Call our 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now. We offer free consultations and case evaluations. Our team of personal injury lawyers represents clients throughout British Columbia.