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​ICBC warning drivers and pedestrians to be vigilant in dark, fall weather

New survey reveals only 20 per cent of pedestrians feel safe at night in wet weather

November 19, 2013


In British Columbia, during November and December, on average, 86 per cent more pedestrians are injured in crashes compared to July and August. In the Lower Mainland during November and December, there are more than twice as many pedestrians injured in crashes than there are in July and August.

That’s why ICBC is urging drivers and pedestrians to focus their full attention on the road and always be on the lookout for each other in these dark, fall conditions.

In a recent survey conducted by ICBC, only 20 per cent of pedestrians reported that they feel safe at night in wet weather yet only about the same number (21 per cent) of respondents regularly wear reflective gear or clothing to help drivers see them. Meanwhile, 33 per cent of drivers admit to often nearly hitting pedestrians wearing dark clothing.

“Public safety is our first priority,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “During these fall and winter months, we’re asking pedestrians to do their part to help drivers see them – wear reflective gear and bright clothing. Drivers need to be constantly looking for pedestrians – especially during dark afternoon commutes and in poor weather.”

“Whether you are a driver, a cyclist or a pedestrian, many of the road crashes that happen as winter approaches can be prevented by making early choices to increase your personal safety,” said Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice. “Cross the street at a lit crosswalk, ensure both you and your pet are visible by attaching a light to your dog when out walking at night and always stay off the phone when you’re crossing the street.”

Despite only one quarter of pedestrians surveyed admitting to using their cell phones while walking near roadways, more than 90 per cent of drivers reported often seeing pedestrians using their cell phone while crossing the street and 83 per cent often seeing pedestrians jaywalking while using their phones.

“There’s a clear disconnect between how pedestrians and drivers perceive their own behaviours and what is actually happening on our roads,” said John Vavrik, a psychologist at ICBC. “We need to be honest with ourselves about the risks we’re taking as drivers and pedestrians especially at this time of year.”

“These crashes are preventable and as drivers, we have a particular responsibility to help keep vulnerable road users like pedestrians safe,” said Chief Constable Jamie Graham, Chair of the Traffic Safety Committee of the British Columbia Association of Chiefs of Police. “When turning at an intersection, always scan the crosswalk first for pedestrians. As a pedestrian, make sure you’re visible and always make eye contact with drivers – never assume a driver has seen you.”

Here are ICBC’s key tips for pedestrians and drivers.

For pedestrians:

  • Dress to be seen. Wear reflective gear to make it easier for drivers to see you. Reflective gear is relatively inexpensive and available at most sporting goods stores. It’s especially important in poor weather and in low light or dark conditions when drivers may not see you.

  • Always make eye contact with drivers. Never assume that a driver has seen you.

  • Before stepping off the curb, look left and right for oncoming vehicles. Then look left and right again for vehicles that may be turning onto the roadway from beside or behind you. Make sure that vehicles in all lanes are fully stopped before crossing.

  • Focus your full attention on what’s happening around you. Drivers may not always stop or obey traffic signals. Remove your headphones and never talk, text or use electronic devices in an intersection or while crossing.

  • Be extra cautious at intersections. Watch for vehicles turning left or right through the crosswalk. Drivers attention may be focused on oncoming traffic so they may not be looking for or see pedestrians in the crosswalk.

  • Always cross at designated crosswalks – never mid-block. Follow pedestrian signs and traffic signals and never cross once the signal has turned yellow or red.

  • When walking on a road without a sidewalk, walk facing traffic so that you can see oncoming vehicles. Make sure you’re visible to drivers by wearing reflective gear or using a flashlight.

For drivers:

  • Always be on the lookout for pedestrians and cyclists – especially in dark, wet weather when visibility is limited, at intersections and near transit stops where pedestrians will be coming and going and may not use crosswalks.

  • When turning at an intersection, scan the crosswalk to make sure there are no pedestrians crossing.

  • Many cyclists are still on our roads during the fall and winter months. Before you or one of your passengers open a vehicle door, check for oncoming cyclists.

Statistics:

  • In British Columbia, on average, 550 pedestrians are injured in crashes in November and December compared to 300 in July and August.

  • In the Lower Mainland, on average, 410 pedestrians are injured in crashes in November and December compared to 200 in July and August.

Notes:

More detailed survey results are available here. For community specific statistics, please contact ICBC’s media relations team.

For general pedestrian statistics and to see where these incidents are happening across the province on a map, visit the statistics page in icbc.com newsroom.

Media contact:
Lindsay Olsen
604-982-4759