Chilliwack RCMP Cst. Matt Wright hads out safety tips and reflective disks to pedestrians at the corner of Promontory and Vedder Road Thursday. The joint initiative between the RCMP

Chilliwack RCMP Cst. Matt Wright hads out safety tips and reflective disks to pedestrians at the corner of Promontory and Vedder Road Thursday. The joint initiative between the RCMP

Recent road tragedies prompt call for pedestrian vigilance

With the return of the dark, rainy weather, Chilliwack’s SaferCity program is warning pedestrians to see and be seen.

With the return of the dark, rainy weather, Chilliwack’s SaferCity program is warning pedestrians to see and be seen.

RCMP members were on the street Thursday, reminding pedestrians of the importance being visible and attentive this time of year. They were joined by Mike Weightman, road safety co-ordinator for ICBC, and Samantha Piper, co-ordinator of the SaferCity program for the City of Chilliwack.

It’s critical pedestrians take special care this time of year, said Weightman. The number of crash-related pedestrian injuries jumps 86 per cent in November and December, compared to July and August, he says.

That’s why the SaferCity program is urging pedestrians to wear bright or reflective clothing while walking. Carry a light, or a reflective device, says Piper.

The warning comes on the heels of two recent road tragedies. Last Friday a two-year-old boy was killed in a Pitt Meadows shopping mall parking lot. And on Tuesday two seniors were struck and killed on a Coquitlam street.

In Chilliwack more than 40 pedestrians are injured every year, Weightman says. The severity of the injuries varies, but even a minor injury – particularly for a senior – can be life-altering.

On Thursday, the group was handing out small reflective disks that can easily be slipped around a button, attached to a zipper fob, or clipped to a child’s backpack.

But there are a host of other ways to heighten visibility in the dark, from reflective armbands to full-on reflective jackets, Piper said.

Technology has also made LED lights powerful enough to cut through the darkness, while still being easy to carry or wear, Weightman added.

But while being visible is important, it is also critical to be aware of the vehicles around you, he said. Pedestrians might have the right-of-way in a marked crosswalk, but that doesn’t make them invincible.

Keep your head up, make eye contact with drivers, and only proceed when it’s safe, said Weightman.

RCMP will be on the streets at a few locations in the coming days, helping to educate both pedestrians and drivers about the importance of being visible and vigilant.

To learn more about Chilliwack’s SaferCity program, go to www.safercity.ca

Here are ICBC’s tips for pedestrians and drivers:

For pedestrians:

•    Always focus your full attention on what’s happening on the roadway so you can see, hear and respond safely when you’re crossing the street. Remove your headphones, and put away your cellphone or other gadgets to make sure you’re prepared for the unexpected.

•    Make eye contact with drivers, so you both know you see each other. Drivers don’t always see you even if you see them.

•    Drivers may not always stop or obey traffic signals. Expect the unexpected.

•    Use designated crossing points and follow pedestrian traffic signs and signals.

•    Before stepping off the curb, look left and right for oncoming vehicles. Then look left again for vehicles that may be turning onto the roadway from beside or behind you.

•    Wear bright or light-coloured clothing. In dark conditions or in bad weather, wear reflective material on your clothes (sleeves, shoes, cap or jacket).

•    Where there are no sidewalks, always walk on the left side of the road facing traffic.

•    For drivers:

•    When you approach an intersection, scan left and right for pedestrians.

•    Be extra cautious and look out for pedestrians when making a left or right hand-turn.

•    Always yield to pedestrians at intersections. It’s the law.

•    If a vehicle is stopped in front of you or in the lane next to you, they may be yielding for a pedestrian, so be prepared to stop.

•    Be aware of pedestrians who seem unsure or who may not be paying attention. They might dart out or wander onto the roadway.

•    Before you get into your vehicle, make it a habit to walk around it to make sure no small children are behind your vehicle. Always watch for pedestrians when you’re backing up.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The annual Make a Difference Sale in Abbotsford is moving online for 2021. (File photo)
Make a Difference Sale in Abbotsford goes virtual for 2021

Annual auction raises money for world hunger through Canadian Foodgrains Bank

The Bug Girl, written by seven-year-old Sophia Spencer, is being given to 500 B.C. classrooms as part of Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month. (Submitted photos)
Reading challenges part of Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month

Abbotsford-based BC Agriculture in the Classroom participates in 10th annual event

Two teens were sent to hospital after being stabbed Saturday evening. (Shane MacKichan photo)
Two teens stabbed in Abbotsford

20-year-old man has been detained

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Inez Louis, who is strategic operations planner with the health department in the Sto:lo Service Agency, talks about infection control in the latest YouTube video about COVID-19 created in partnership with the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice and the Chilliwack Economic Recovery Network. (YouTube)
VIDEO: Nurse Inez Louis explains how infection control is not social control

The difference is important for Indigenous people to hear in the context of Canada’s colonial past

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Approximate location of the vehicle incident. (Google Maps)
Vehicle incident blocking Coquihalla traffic in both directions

Both directions of traffic stopped due to vehicle incident

Most Read