A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle more than once every five days in Chilliwack in 2018, the highest rate in five years.
Between 2014 and 2017 the number of incidents of crashes involving pedestrians in Chilliwack was 43, 50, 59 and 58, according to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC).
There were 76 pedestrian/vehicle incidents in 2018. The five-year local average is 57.
In the Lower Mainland a pedestrian was struck six times a day over the last five years. The 2,400 incidents in 2018 compares to a five-year average of 2,300.
In Abbotsford there were 110 incidents in 2018. There were just three in Agassiz, and five in Hope. Vancouver saw 760 pedestrian/vehicle crashes. Second was Surrey at 450, then Burnaby at 230.
The data puts numbers to the reality that as the weather changes and daylight hours decrease, pedestrians become more vulnerable.
ICBC reports that nearly half (44 per cent) of all crashes with pedestrians happen between October and January. Even when drivers proceed with caution, it’s hard to see pedestrians when visibility is poor.
There have been many examples of pedestrian incidents in Chilliwack outside that window of time. In May, an 83-year-old suffered life-threatening injuries when he was struck by a vehicle on a stretch of Keith Wilson Road that has no sidewalks.
In B.C., 76 per cent of crashes involving pedestrians happen at intersections. Whether it’s taking a break from using a phone or yielding the right-of-way, drivers all need to do our part to keep pedestrians safe.
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.
• Remember, if a vehicle is stopped in front of you or in the lane next to you, they may be yielding for a pedestrian.
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.
• Don’t jaywalk – 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.