Most pedestrian related collisions in B.C. happen in the winter

Pedestrian safety and winter

With winter here and the days shorter, pedestrians are the most at risk for collision with vehicles.

Nearly half of all pedestrian-involved collisions in B.C. occur between October and January.

Brian Cairney, the traffic signal supervisor with the City of Kelowna says knowing how to properly execute a crosswalk and being aware of your surroundings are the key to avoiding an accident.

“I think people just need to know the safe way to do it, and that's kinda the key, is making sure everyone knows how it operates so everyone can cross safely, and they know how the traffic is going to react to a situation,” said Cairney.

According to Cairney, there are many misconceptions when it comes to crosswalks.

“When you approach the crosswalk, you press the button once. Some people think you should press it several times or play a tune, and the light will change, but that's not the case, said Cairney.

“Another one is when people see the white walk signal, that's up for eight seconds, they think that's their whole time to cross, but it isn't. It's just telling them that they can enter the crosswalk safely. The next phase is the flashing orange hand, which is the pedestrian clearance time and that's the time you've got from one side to the other.”

Cairney says larger crosswalks will give users more time to cross, but if pedestrians are unaware of the rules of a crosswalk, it could cost them.

“It is an offence to cross against the orange hand, which is the ‘don’t walk’ symbol, and for that, you can get fined $75 dollars.

The traffic signal supervisor also mentioned when it comes to flashing amber crosswalks, it's important for pedestrians to press the button which signals to drivers someone is crossing. It may be obvious, but it's crucial to look both ways and make eye contact with the driver before entering the amber crosswalk.

In B.C., 79 per cent of crashes involving pedestrians happen at intersections, and drivers have an equally critical role to play as the pedestrians. A good tip for drivers is to focus on the road at all times, and always leave your cell phone out of reach to prevent distraction.

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