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A pedestrian advocacy group says more needs to be done to protect pedestrians.
According to The Province, five elderly people were struck while crossing at marked intersections between November 23 and December 3. Four of those pedestrians were hit by vehicles making left-hand turns and one by a vehicle driving straight. According to a Coroners Service report, more than half of fatal incidents at intersections occurred when the pedestrian had the right of way or was waiting at a sidewalk or median. In 70 per cent of those cases vehicles would hit a pedestrian while making a left turn.
Bev Ballentyne, co-founder of Putting Pedestrians First, believes that things won’t get better unless there’s more enforcement. She also believes that campaigns like ICBC’s Walk Safe sends the wrong message.
“It’s telling us as walkers and cyclists to stay out of (motorists’) way,” says Ballentyne in The Province. “It just means drivers are going to be worse. They’re going to feel entitled, more aggressive, drive faster and stop less. The onus should be on the driver to drive according to the conditions and watch for pedestrians.”
The BC Ministry of Transportation made a regulation change to simplify the Slow Down Move Over rule. Effective January 1, 2015, drivers must slow down and move into another lane when passing all roadside workers including land surveyors, animal control workers and garbage collectors. All vehicles required to be passed this way will display a flashing red, blue or yellow light, making it easier for drivers to know the rules of the road.
Last month I wrote about how 2014 has been the safest year on record for pedestrians in Vancouver. With darker, rainier days ahead, this could soon change.
According to ICBC, pedestrian-related collisions increase by 76 percent between November and January.
In Vancouver, there were 30,066 reported collisions involving pedestrians between 2005 and 2010, an average of 511 cases annually. Half of those occurred between November and February. Collisions were highest in November followed by January. In BC 55 pedestrians are killed each year with 33 deaths this year so far.
“It’s an issue all over our province,” said Jill Blacklock, road safety manager at ICBC in The Province. “This is a conversation we want to have.”