Concern grows over spike in pedestrian crashes
ICBC is launching its annual pedestrian safety campaign with the B.C. Coroners Service, B.C. government and police to urge pedestrians and drivers to do their part to stay safe as crashes involving pedestrians spike at this time of year.
Almost two times more pedestrians are injured in crashes from November to January compared to June to August as the weather changes and daylight hours decrease.
“It’s the fall, and that means the evenings get darker quicker, and we can expect more bad weather such as rain and fog, and more treacherous road conditions, such as ice and snow,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure in a media release.
“These are all good reasons to be especially cautious and look out for pedestrians. As drivers, we need to quit making excuses for not seeing pedestrians by staying focused on our driving. As pedestrians, it’s critical that we do what we can to be seen by drivers.”
In the Southern Interior, 12 pedestrians are killed and 240 pedestrians are injured in crashes every year. (Based on five year averages from 2009 to 2013. ICBC data for crashes and injuries and police data for fatalities.)
The top contributing factors attributed to drivers in crashes with pedestrians are: distraction, failure to yield the right of way and weather. Drivers should take extra time to look for pedestrians before turning, avoid distractions and be ready to yield.
Pedestrians can help stay safe by making eye contact, wearing bright and reflective clothing, and staying focused on the road.
“Regardless of who is legally in the right in cases where a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, it’s always the pedestrian who suffers the most catastrophic consequences,” said Dr. Kelly Barnard, director of medical unit, B.C. Coroners Service.
ICBC is distributing free safety reflectors and tips to pedestrians with the help of community policing volunteers and other local partners throughout B.C.
“For pedestrians at intersections, making eye contact with drivers is key to reducing their risk, as 75 per cent of crashes involving pedestrians occur at intersections,” said Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s director responsible for road safety.
“Drivers must be extremely cautious at intersections – take the extra time to look for pedestrians before turning, avoid all forms of distraction and be ready to yield. So whether driving or walking, everyone has a role to play to keep pedestrians from getting injured.”
ICBC’s campaign will feature new radio advertising aimed at drivers and transit advertising aimed at pedestrians in the highest pedestrian crash areas of the province, along with online digital advertising.
In B.C., nearly one in five (18 per cent) people killed in car crashes are pedestrians.
In the Lower Mainland, 33 pedestrians are killed and 1,700 injured in crashes every year.
On Vancouver Island, 10 pedestrians are killed and 330 pedestrians are injured in crashes every year.
In the Southern Interior, 12 pedestrians are killed and 240 pedestrians are injured in crashes every year.
In Northern B.C., 90 pedestrians are injured and four pedestrians are killed in crashes every year.
*Based on five year averages from 2009 to 2013. ICBC data for crashes and injuries and police data for fatalities.