The recent incidents involving pedestrians and cyclists being hit by automobiles is very unsettling. I have witnessed many close calls myself in the last week.
The general understanding in Canada is that pedestrians have the right of way when crossing the road at intersections, crosswalks, etc. This "understanding" has led our population to believe that the vehicles will stop when one steps out onto the road.
A person that is walking (travelling at 3-6km/hr) has a far better ability to comprehend the world that moves around them as compared to the driver of an automobile (travelling at 30-70+km/hr). The pedestrian can stop very easily and look in all directions to assess their surroundings.
The driver is mainly focused on the task of operating the automobile in a safe manner eg: obeying speed limits, looking for traffic control devices(lights, signs), watching for other drivers, changing lanes, watching out for pedestrians and cyclists, flashing billboards.....the list goes on.
As a pedestrian, how can one be sure that a driver has spotted a pedestrian/cyclist? How can one be sure that the vehicle has enough time to stop?
To assume that every driver sees pedestrians/cyclists would be wrong. Add a smart phone into the mix, with the driver, pedestrian or cyclist, and you have a potentially fatal situation.
Everyone needs to focus before someone gets killed.