My life is usually mostly rural in character, but I've been visiting Surrey this week as both a driver and a pedestrian. Given the spate of vehicle / pedestrian collisions in the news lately it has been interesting to consider how they happen in light of my unusual surroundings. I think that a large component of the problem is haste with drivers and lack of attention by pedestrians.
Here, it seems, everyone is in a hurry. Travel is more often than not done at speeds in excess of the limit and stops are either not done at all or done because one is forced to. Beat the lights, make that turn, get there before the other driver and do what is needed rather than what is proper.
As I stood waiting to cross at an uncontrolled marked crosswalk last night a woman pulled up the the stop in front of me prior to turning right. She was already half way through the crosswalk and focused on finding the gap in traffic to her left. The first time she looked right toward me was after she started moving to get into the gap that presented itself.
Pedestrians often wander right out into traffic without making eye contact with drivers or scanning for traffic as they cross. Add that most of us were in dark clothing and some listening to music instead of their surroundings and it is no wonder that some are struck. It's almost like they are taunting the drivers to see and stop as required.
Small wonder that there are problems!
The author is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. To comment or learn more, please visit www.drivesmartbc.ca.
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Tim Schewe has been writing his column for most of the 20 years in his traffic enforcement service in the RCMP. It was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and now Castanet.net. Schewe retired from the Force in January of 2006, but the column became a habit and continues.
E-mail him your questions or concerns: [email protected]
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