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ICBC warns about seasonal spike in pedestrian crashes

Nearly half of all pedestrian fatalities occur between October and January as the weather changes and daylight hours decrease — in the Southern Interior, on average, 150 pedestrians are injured in 230 crashes every year. — Photo courtesy ICBC

During the month of October, ICBC and police are launching a pedestrian safety campaign to urge pedestrians and drivers to stay safe as crashes involving pedestrians nearly double at this time of year.

Nearly half of all pedestrian fatalities occur between October and January as the weather changes and daylight hours decrease — in the Southern Interior, on average, 150 pedestrians are injured in 230 crashes every year.

Pedestrian safety is important in B.C. — pedestrians are among the most vulnerable road users when a crash occurs. Distracted driving and failing to yield the right-of-way are the top contributing factors for drivers in crashes with pedestrians, with more than three-quarters of crashes involving pedestrians occurring at intersections.

“This time of year, as daylight hours shorten and bad weather increases, police see a growing number of crashes involving pedestrians,” said Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee.

“These are particularly tragic as pedestrians are vulnerable road users, and often include children, the elderly or the distracted. We each have a part to play to in making our streets safer.”

Drivers should take extra time to scan for pedestrians near transit stops and before turning at intersections, avoid distractions and be ready to yield.

Pedestrians can help stay safe by making eye contact with drivers, watching for drivers turning left or right at intersections, and using designated crosswalks.

ICBC and community policing volunteers will be handing out reflectors and safety tips in high pedestrian traffic areas across the province to help pedestrians stay visible.

“We're urging both pedestrians and drivers to do their part to keep our roads safe as daylight hours decrease and weather conditions change,” said Lindsay Matthews, ICBC's Vice-Pr​esident of Public Affairs and Driver Licensing.

“Crashes involving pedestrians are highest between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. every day when many of us are commuting home. It's important for drivers to leave their phone alone and for pedestrians to stay focused on what's going on around them." 

Tips for Drivers

  • Focus on the road. Always leave your phone alone while driving.
  • Be ready to yield to pedestrians, especially when turning at intersections and near transit stops.
  • If a vehicle is stopped in front of you or in the lane next to you, they may be yielding for a pedestrian.
  • Expect the unexpected, even mid-block, as pedestrians may not be crossing within a crosswalk. 

Tips for safe walking

  • Be careful at intersections. Watch for drivers turning left or right through the crosswalk. Drivers may be focused on oncoming traffic and not see you.
  • Always use crosswalks and follow the pedestrian signs and traffic signals.
  • Make eye contact with drivers, as it's hard to see pedestrians when visibility is poor in fall and winter. Never assume that a driver has seen you.
  • Remove your headphones and take a break from your phone while crossing the road.
  • Be as reflective as possible to make it easier for drivers to see you in wet weather, at dusk and at night.