Greater pedestrian safety urged

With a change to earlier afternoon darkness, the B.C Coroner's Service is reminding pedestrians to exercise caution.

Sarah Kloos

Special to the Valley Echo

 

With the change to earlier afternoon darkness as a result of the end of Daylight Savings, the B.C. Coroners Service is urging both pedestrians and motorists to take great care to avoid pedestrian-vehicle accidents.

“There haven’t been any incidents in Invermere yet this year because there hasn’t been much snow or winter weather, not to say there can’t be,” Columbia Valley RCMP Sergeant Bob Vatamaniuck told the Echo. “We advise drivers to be vigilant. Be patient, and give the pedestrian the right of way. Also, across Canada, many pedestrian deaths are caused by impaired driving. The upcoming Christmas season may bring more check stops. We strongly urge drivers not to drink and drive. Around here, lots of things are within walking distance, so if you’ve been drinking, call a cab, or a friend, or walk.”

Last month, 10 pedestrians died following road accidents, which is more than double the average number for October over the past six years. The total pedestrian lives lost in B.C. this year from January to September was 47.

Coroners’ statistics show that pedestrian deaths occur more frequently in the fall and winter months, especially in November, December, and January.

“Each of these deaths is a tragedy for family, friends, and loved ones left behind,” said chief coroner Lisa Lapointe. “Our investigations show clearly that both motorists and pedestrians have a responsibility to avoid these incidents. Pedestrians need to be aware that even in cases where they are legally in the right, they are invariably going to be the ones seriously injured or killed in a collision with a motor vehicle.”

Incidents often occur at intersections, so drivers need to be extra cautious when turning left or right.

Pedestrians need to make sure that they’ll be seen by drivers, particularly when it is dark or visibility is poor due to winter conditions. Pedestrians should wear bright or light coloured clothing, or even better, reflective materials, and if none of those options are available, carry a light, at all times, or even turn on the flashlight on a cellphone.

For more information on pedestrian fatalities, visit: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/public-safety-and-emergency-services/death-investigation/statistical/mvi-pedestrian.pdf

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