As the winter solstice approaches, with fewer daylight hours particularly during commuting, pedestrian safety is a serious issue.
Then there is the bright sunshine low in the sky the Lower Mainland has seen in recent days.
Collisions are inevitable, and a recent pedestrian struck by a vehicle downtown Chilliwack on a bright sunny day was caught on a neighbour’s security camera.
The young man is walking north on Williams Street near Chilliwack secondary school on Dec. 14 when he crosses Reece Avenue. A mini-van is seen driving south on Williams turns west onto Reece without slowing down.
The man jumps in the air anticipating the collision and is thrown in the air landing on the sidewalk nearby.
The driver of the vehicle stayed at the scene. Witnesses reported on social media that the elderly woman driving was very upset about hitting the young man, and that he “miraculously” walked away after being assessed by paramedics.
Last year the Surrey RCMP released a brief dash-cam video of an officer driving in a residential neighbourhood, one lined with street lights. The car is driving at the posted speed limit, conditions are clear and dry.
In the final clip, the cruiser approaches a crosswalk and it is not until the vehicle is almost on top of the crosswalk is a pedestrian wearing a dark jacket and light blue jeans visible.
Long story short: Even in ideal conditions it is hard to spot pedestrians on the streets.
Some tips for drivers:
• Vehicles should have their lights on to increase visibility, regardless of the time of day;
• When approaching an intersection always scan right and left for pedestrians before continuing through;
• When operating a vehicle, be cautious of pedestrians who may be distracted or unaware of their surroundings (texting, on the phone, headphones in, umbrella or hood blocking their vision);
• Obey the speed limit – not to avoid tickets but to avoid tragedy.
Some tips for pedestrians:
• Walk on the inside edge of the sidewalk so you are further away from traffic;
• If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic so you can see oncoming vehicles;
• Cross only at intersections or marked crosswalks, never jay walk;
• Dress to be seen especially at night and on dark/overcast days;
• Make sure you can hear and see oncoming cars. Remove your headphones and your hood when crossing the street;
• Make eye contact with drivers. Keep your head up and look where you’re walking. Never assume that drivers see you;
• Always look for signs that a vehicle is about to move (rear lights, exhaust smoke, sound of motor, wheels turning).