A survey released by ICBC has revealed that nine out of 10 drivers worry about hitting a pedestrian at night, particularly in wet weather.
At the same time, 8 out of 10 pedestrians don’t feel safe in these same conditions.
To help address the situation, the provincial government and police are launching a pedestrian safety campaign across the province to raise awareness of the dangers represented by the increased hours of darkness combined with reduced visibility due to our rainy winter.
“I cringe when I see see people, especially young people, dressed in dark colours with no reflective material whatsoever walking along the roadside on a rainy night. They seem unaware that they are making themselves very hard to see and that could lead to them being badly injured or even losing their life,” said Staff Sargent Jeff McArthur, Detachment Commander of the Sooke RCMP.
“There are all kinds of reflective safety gear out there these days and it only makes sense to wear it if you venture out on a dark, rainy night.”
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That same message is part of the ICBC campaign after it statistics revealed a disproportionate number of pedestrian-related crashes and injuries happen in just four months of the year — 43 per cent of all crashes that injure pedestrians happen between October and January as visibility and conditions get worse.
Dark and rainy conditions can seriously impact visibility, and that’s why community policing volunteers will be handing our reflectors and safety tips in high pedestrian traffic areas across the province to help pedestrians stay visible.
The other aspect of the safety equation is, of course, the behaviour of the drivers.
“Three-quarters of pedestrian crashes happen at intersections,” said Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s director responsible for road safety. “Unfortunately, pedestrians are extremely vulnerable to be hurt when involved in a crash. These crashes contribute to the rising number of injury claims in our province, which is the largest single cost pressure on B.C. insurance rates, but the reality is, these crashes are preventable. We all need to do our part to keep our roads and pedestrians safe.”
Every year in B.C. an average of 59 pedestrians are killed and 2,500 are injured.
“It’s important for drivers to slow down and be extra vigilant at this time of year,” said McArthur. “It’s a matter of assessing your own abilities as a driver and slowing down to the point where you are confident that you can pick up peripheral objects.”
For some drivers, added McArthur, that self assessment should result in deciding not to drive during certain conditions. For some older drivers who don’t feel confident after dark in the rain, or for drivers who’s vision may have deteriorated this may be a reasonable, responsible course of action.
- In the Lower Mainland, on average, 1,400 crashes at intersections involve a pedestrian every year.
- On Vancouver Island, on average, 190 crashes at intersections involve a pedestrian every year.