October 14, 2016

Pedestrian Deaths, Seniors and the Walk and Be Seen Project 2016

So far this year 11 pedestrians have died on Vancouver streets, the latest being a senior who was struck by a car at Yew Street  and 49th Avenue a few days ago. That is more than one citizen a month that is being killed, and the majority of those deaths are senior Vancouverites.  If it was a disease and  not cars killing residents, we would be calling this an epidemic.
In 2012 seniors (those folks that are over 65 years of age) were only 13.2 per cent of the population. Forty per cent of  pedestrian fatalities that year were seniors.
Two mindful and very involved women in the west side of Vancouver decided to do something about this. Lynn Shepherd and Sabina Harpe come from professional librarian and social work backgrounds and were deeply concerned with the fact that no one is looking at seniors’ pedestrian safety in Vancouver winters.  Even the City of Vancouver gives short shrift to pedestrian issues, with no dedicated staff resourcing,  lumping those issues with cyclists in a volunteer advisory committee to Council.
Pedestrians issues are very different, and it is also the disenfranchised that do a lot of walking-those too young , too  infirm, too old and/or too poor to choose other alternatives. They are truly the voiceless, and no matter how well meaning  any volunteer advisory committee is, the importance  of walking mobility deserves to be championed and staffed separately and aggressively at city hall.
Lynn and Sabina have done a lot of the work that the City of Vancouver should have done-they met with experts in the field, spoke to seniors groups and those with mobility challenges, and decided to focus on a project to encourage seniors to walk prudently and safely in winter, the time where most seniors are the most vulnerable to being hit by cars. They formed a committee through the Westside Seniors Hub at Kits House that included representatives from BEST, the Dunbar Residents Association/SFU, the Jewish Family Agency, Walk Metro Vancouver, Kits Community Centre, Brock House Society, ICBC and the Vancouver Police Department. They did their research and found that Sweden has had a three-fold reduction in vehicle and pedestrian fatalities and injuries since the adoption of a Vision Zero campaign in 1997. Besides encouraging better driver behaviour and pedestrian compliance to using intersections and crosswalks, visibility was key.
Vancouver’s low-light winters and rainy days mean that walkers need to be visible-the use of reflective items similar to those used in Finland could bring traffic accident and deaths down. While countries like Finland mandate that children must wear reflective items on their clothes, there is nothing like that in North America. By creating the “Walk and Be Seen Project” seniors that are walking in winter will be asked to walk with and trial various reflective items, including the reflective safety sash and snap on reflective bracelets. They are creating a pilot  project for 150 walking seniors on how to increase safety and visibility in winter by the use of reflective items. Their objectives are to encourage safe walking in low-light, complement ICBC and Vancouver Police Department safety campaigns, gather feedback, and use the date for further initiatives. And I completely expect those seniors to model behaviour and lead the way in us all wearing reflective items while walking  in our low light and potentially dangerous winter street environments, and start the dialogue on championing other pedestrian initiatives-road design, speed, and driver behaviour.
Kudos must be given to these two extraordinary women who are championing vulnerable seniors’ walkability and safety. You can find out more about this project at the Kitsilano Autumn Fair at the Kitsilano Neighbourhood House Open House from 10:00 a.m.  to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday October 22nd, or by emailing wbs@westsideseniorshub.org

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  1. I’m not a fan of asking people to wear reflective things if at the same time nothing else is being done to lower motor traffic volumes and speeds and improve sidewalk lighting.

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  3. Better than reflective materials are the LED arm bands that are sold for runners and joggers.
    Runners also clip flashing bike lights to the backs of their running caps (on the Velcro closure) with a head lamp in front.
    Reflective materials only work when headlights are aimed at you (which may be too late! especially on turns and corners where headlights only point straight)

    1. PS – Visibility is a huge issue. Often, if you are stopped at a traffic light waiting to turn left, the headlights of oncoming cars (esp. SUVs) blind you so you cannot see pedestrians (esp. wearing all black) or bikes to the left.
      Case in point – eastbound Broadway turning left to northbound Cambie. The cars southbound on Cambie are all facing uphill, so their headlights are glaring in your face, making it hard to see pedestrians crossing Cambie. That crosswalk should be lit from above.

      1. Depending on pedestrian loads, 3 right turns could take longer than one left turn. Toronto has very few left turn bays, from what I recall, because their streets (downtown, anyways) are much narrower than Vancouver’s and they have few one-way streets.
        In downtown Vancouver, a lot of left turns are already prohibited
        ie From Georgia St., where a (westbound) right turn sends you down to Pender because Dunsmuir is one way the wrong way).
        You can’t loop the block from westbound Georgia to southbound Burrard because Thurlow is one-way southbound north of Georgia (you’d have to turn right at Hornby, left and left onto Burrard (one-ways though) or be stuck going to Bute, Pender then Burrard to do all right turns).

        1. Regarding how long it takes to make left vs right turns, however, what to make of UPS refusing to make left turns? https://www.thestar.com/business/2014/04/07/why_ups_said_no_to_left_turns.html
          That isn’t to say that there aren’t isolated places like you mention around Georgia, Thurlow, Burrard … but in general, I kinda believe UPS’s data boffins and their conclusion that its a better way.
          I also think that where left turns are to be allowed on busy streets, there needs to be a dedicated lane and at busy travel times, a dedicated phase of the lights.

    2. In my experience reflective accents on clothing or shoes are much more visible to drivers than lights. In North Van many people carry flashlights or headlamps when it’s dark. They are useful to see when walking or running, but not that effective for being seen. Some people wear construction safety vests AND lights. I first wondered why roadwork was done on residential streets in the evening. But it’s just the outfit for walking the dog.

      1. Partially I think this is because there are so many intersections in NVan (maybe in DNV, hard to tell w/o map) which are without lighting, on streets which seem designed explicitly to encourage speeding … specifically Grand Blvd. East … no obvious crosswalks, no lighting, no demarcation of most intersections, wide straight street promotes speeding … its got it all!

  4. My fear in requiring the use of shiny clothing is that anyone, for whatever reason, who doesn’t have such is instantly declared to be ‘asking for it’ … and this is a line of logic which is considered to be faulty when it comes to other manners of clothing.
    What about if someone was angled in such a way that their reflective clothing wasn’t optimally positioned?
    What about someone who can’t afford fancy clothing?
    Asking for it? … Asking for it?
    It is a person’s choice to drive too fast for the conditions (be they wet or otherwise), it is a city’s (and ultimately a person at the city) choice to have speed limits which implicitly allow little margin for error under the best of circumstances, let alone the dark and stormy night.
    As Adanac suggests, asking everyone to enhance their visibility without actually requiring that cars do anything about their ability to see/stop/maneuver is unfair, and places the blame on the person who is now dead, rather than the person in the padded protective cage.
    If drivers can’t see at X speed, they should be going at X-Y speed instead. Just like we now have variable speed limits on the Sea to Sky and other highways (and at least 20 years behind other places doing the same) … if one limit can’t accomodate all conditions, either you impose the lower limit always, or have a variable limit.
    If cars can’t see pedestrians on dark and stormy nights … then they need to slow down and pay more attention. Once that happens, sure, add some shiny.

    1. I agree. There is enough blaming the victim already and this will simply make things worse. What is required it to reign in the drivers :
      – 30 km/hr speed limits in most urban areas
      – Protected intersections (separate phase for pedestrians). Burrard/Cornwall is probably the first in Canada.
      – Way more scramble intersections. I know of only one in all of Metro Vancouver which is at Moncton/1st St in Steveston.
      – Advance green (by a few seconds) for people walking and cycling.
      – No right turn on red.
      – Encourage/force drivers to drive to conditions. e.g. drive more slowly at night and especially in the rain.
      – Huge enforcement campaign. I often cross Kingsway at Perry and one time I recorded 18 law violations in one crossing.
      – Way higher fines for injuring or killing pedestrians. Also, reverse onus legislation for crash involving driver and pedestrian. Minimum of license cancellation, re-education.and re-testing. I was hit on two occasions by a motor vehicle and the police did not even write out a ticket even though drivers were at fault. In the Netherlands there would have been severs consequences for the drivers. In one case where 3 children were struck, the story was the story of the year in the city newspaper. Here it is simply collateral damage as part of motordom.
      – Way more red light cameras. Make these video cameras which can record other events as well.
      – Re-introduction of automated speed detection devices (aka speed cameras).
      – etc. etc.
      Though this may not be a disease, I would certainly call it an epidemic. No use patching up the symptoms – we need to address the cause.

      1. ” – Advance green (by a few seconds) for people walking and cycling.”
        There are amazingly few of those it seems, the only one I interact with often is Burrard and Davie … there seem to be many more that are the exact opposite (which I’m sure I’ve read are much less safe … especially in light of the fact that pedestrians will typically anticipate the change of light and will at times have a ‘negative’ reaction time http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/26/magazine/how-do-we-protect-new-york-citys-pedestrians.html?ref=magazine ), and who when they don’t know there will be a delayed walk signal, will have already started crossing by the time they know they ‘shouldn’t … I’m sure there must be data to compare the two (googlefail however at the moment)
        Anyone know of a comparison of the % benefit for advance walk? (or detriment of delayed walk?)

      2. “– Advance green (by a few seconds) for people walking and cycling.
        – No right turn on red.”
        These two concepts go hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, In the only example I know, of Advance Green for crosswalks (Davie at Burrard in Vancouver), making a right turn while driving is difficult. Pedestrians might “anticipate” the signal change, and start walking before the “Walk” light indicates. And other pedestrians start crossing when the “Wait” light indicates. I have waited 2 lights for 2 cars to turn.
        Perhaps a good solution to explore, for more intersections, is the Advance Green for right turn, as is used at Georgia and Seymour.

        1. The best option is to have protected intersections where motor vehicle phase is separate from ped/cycle phase. A good example and maybe the first in Canada is at Burrard /Cornwall. Burrard /Pacific will be similar. Most traffic lights along Hornby are protected for people walking/cycling along Hornby. Main/Union is protected in east/west direction. There may be a few more – Smythe/Beatty? We could use way more of these.

    2. How much us speed a factor if accidents occur at intersections? And speaking if speed, it would behoove seniors to not start crossing the street when the red hand us flashing or 5 Seconds show on the countdown.

      1. Consider this scenario: I am crossing Main at 15th which has two traffic lanes in each direction. I am just past the middle of the street and am walking in front of a cube van which has stopped for me. At this point, any traffic in the adjacent lane must yield to me, but driver in adjacent lane does not even slow down as I step into the lane. This happens way too often and is shown clearly in my video below. Drivers should slow down when a vehicle is stopped at an intersection in case they are stopped for a pedestrian trying to cross the street, but at least 90% of vehicles don’t slow down even when they see the pedestrian. Speed is definitely a factor here, since many vehicles travel at 60km/hr or higher in a 50 zone and prefer to keep moving instead of stopping for pesky pedestrians as they are obliged to do.

        1. True, I was thinking more of turning from a stop.
          Main and 15th is an area I know well, and would recommend against anyone crossing there when there are lights at 14th and 16th. I know you will argue it is perfectly within your right to cross there, but given it is downhill and several other factors, it is tempting fate IMHO.

        2. tempting fate?
          Given that Arno was just discussing the danger of crossing AT an intersection with a light, it seems crass to suggest that one is tempting fate to cross at another intersection, that simply fails to have a light.
          ‘I know there’s a minefield over there, and a minefield over there, but you really shouldn’t cross at this minefield here – that would be tempting fate’
          Can we please agree that at a certain point, it would be good to address the minefield(s)?

        3. Lets address turning from a stop:
          Many cars can do 0-60mph in 8 seconds, getting to half that (a quite deadly 30mph) takes between 1.8 and 4 seconds http://insideevs.com/plug-vehicle-cross-section-acceleration-30-mph-60-mph-ev-mode/
          a car getting to 30mph in 1.8 seconds does so in 12m
          a car getting to 30mph in 2 seconds does so in 13.3m
          a car getting to 30mph in 3 seconds does so in 20m
          a car getting to 30mph in 4 seconds does so in 26.7m
          Lets take an average-busy big-ish intersection, Granville turning on to Broadway, a car who has slid forward to turn left has 17m to travel before they pass through the crosswalk.
          Lets go slightly bigger – Denman turning to Georgia, a car who has slid forward to turn left has 24.5m to travel before they pass through the crosswalk.
          Going smaller – from Carrall turning West on Keefer, 14.5m, even turning right going southbound on Carrall to Keefer has 14.9m before their front bumper passes totally through the crosswalk.
          Can we agree that it is totally possible to get to a deadly speed in the space of average intersections with many/most cars? Even starting from zero, even while already advanced somewhat into the intersection and shortening the available distance?
          Distances from https://www.gmap-pedometer.com/
          Distances to accelerate to 30mph http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/car-acceleration-d_1309.html
          Effect of 30mph vs slower speeds on deadlieness of impact – many sources, one here: http://humantransport.org/sidewalks/SpeedKills.htm

        4. @artitectus You are dealing with an intersection on a slope, just down from the busy meeting of Main and 16th. There no left turn bays on Main, hence traffic is often funneled down to one lane. There are also bus stops between 15th and 16th with articulated busses that can obscure vision when they swing back into traffic.
          Sure you could spend a lot of money on it, or you could just say to yourself, maybe it would be better just to walk the one short block to either 14th or 16th.

        5. Why should it be up to the pedestrian to detour? Why shouldn’t motorists drive with more care? When did we give up so much public space for the exclusive use of MVs where pedestrians are seen as short term trespassers?
          Do we really need so many cars or is it a terrible flaw in our society that should be remedied?

        6. @Bob … in this exact situation, ya, maybe a block isn’t too far (though I agree with RV more) … the thing is, it is often not just 1 block either direction, the same argument is too often made about 2,3,5, etc. blocks … and in those cases I think no, it is entirely and increasingly clearly unreasonable.
          This intersection might not be first in line for pedestrian safety infrastructure, but is a good lesson for why you could just say to yourself, maybe it would be better just to drive ten small kms/hr slower, and look just one short block further up the road, and read just one short drivers education handbook.
          The onus is on the person wielding the weapon to go that short way to ensure they don’t hit anyone with it, not on the anyone to go that short way to avoid the one with the weapon.

      2. As a matter of equity, this presupposes that all can cross in the allotted time, and ignores that there are those who can easily cross in 5s.
        If someone can’t get across in the allotted time, they still have a right to cross, and certainly a right not to get injured doing so.
        Speed is a factor for everyone who runs red lights (when the pedestrian walk signal has turned). Speed is a factor when people make a fast right turn without looking to see if a pedestrian is crossing, or a bike is in the bike lane beside them. Speed is a factor when a bus partially overtakes a bike, then hooks in front of them while the bike is still beside. Speed is a factor when someone guns it to turn left when they left it hanging in the intersection waiting for traffic to clear (which is technically illegal – it is illegal to enter an intersection without a clear way to leave it, of course this is mostly ignored).
        Prettymuch any car can accelerate to 40-50kph by the time they get to the crosswalk (some easily more) from a standstill while turning left, which is certainly enough to kill.
        Finally, the design of many bike paths (along Carrall St. for instance) actually increases the effective radius of the corner, and in so doing allows even greater speed to be maintained through the corner. If you want to see this in action, go to Carrall and Keefer, or Carrall and Expo between about 5-6pm, and count how many cars fly through either intersection, and how many bikes are cut off by them doing so.
        Thats how speed is a factor, even at ‘slow’ intersections.

      3. Another situation is speeding at night and especially on a rainy night. Many pedestrians get killed in these situations since drivers are going too fast for the conditiions. In these cases, people should driver below the speed limit for the very reason that pedestrians are difficult to see under these conditions. In reports of pedestrian deaths under these circumstances, the police often state that speed was not a factor, but if a pedestrian is dead, then the driver was almost certainly travelling too fast for the conditions.
        Also, when a pedestrian is struck in an intersection by a turning vehicle, then the driver must have been driving faster than his/her ability to prevent a crash.

        1. Actually that last is not true. I’ve turned from a stop on an intersection on a dark rainy night and almost hit a pedestrian clad all in black crossing at a run to beat the light.. Would it have been my fault, yes. But speed would have had nothing to do with it.

  5. If you’re out at night it’s prudent to wear something visible. The blame game counts for squat if you’re dead or injured.
    I’d add that everyone should pay attention. If I’m in a crosswalk, I’m hyper vigilant; like a cat in a roomful of rocking chairs, and I sure as hell am not wearing a hoodie; on the phone, or wearing headphones.
    Vancouverites dress dark. Invisible. It’s so dangerous.
    Kingsway/Perry is a nasty nasty intersection. If you’re turning left to go east on Kingsway you’re a fool. It’s wise to go a couple of blocks through the alley and make your move on Miller where there’s a light. If you want to turn right to go west along King Ed it’s prudent to go to Dumfries.
    The attraction at this intersection is Famous Foods – the default option if you’re looking for organics, or unusual items. Transit users have the worst of it. Crossing to get to the bus stop is not for the faint of heart or feeble of movement.

    1. There used to be a safety island for pedestrian but this was removed in the spirit of motordom. So sad. Safety islands would be a nice feature at unsignalized intersections. Here is the video of my crossing which show 17 law violations in a single ped crossing of the street:

      1. Arno, forgive me. But you are being profoundly stupid crossing there, even in broad daylight in dry conditions, considering the signalized crossing at Dumphries just 180 m / two minutes to the west.

        1. Is Kingsway a highway, or a street? If the former, then limited access is to be expected, if the latter, not, and he should expect to be able to cross at every intersection.
          Kingsway Avenue = Wide Street … meaning that really, a pedestrian should reasonably have an expectation to cross at every intersection.

  6. Yeah, you get that a lot these days:
    “I REFUSE to be PRUDENT – it’s other people’s responsibility to look out for ME”
    Like the boat and freighter pic in the other thread, and as mentioned above, having the right-of-way or being “right” does little if you’re dead or maimed.

        1. there are laws against being a general asshat while drunk, but none specifically about being drunk, or about biking drunk .. if you are an asshat while doing either, breaking law, if not, not.

      1. Well, given that at least a percent of drivers are drunk at any given moment (here’s one that says 1 in 60 http://journalstar.com/news/local/dodging-drunk-drivers-statistics-on-impaired-driving-are-sobering/article_738a356c-f5a8-11de-9a99-001cc4c002e0.html ) … it isn’t about being prudent so much as making sure that even in the presence of inattentive/bad/drunk drivers, that a person exercising general prudence isn’t at risk.
        Wearing blinky + shiny clothing goes beyond general prudence, you are giving a permission slip to drivers to be that much less attentive. Due carefulness is one thing, being a christmas tree is another.

        1. Pursuant to the BC Liquor Control and Licencing Act, a police office can arrest without warrant anyone found intoxicated in a public place-that would, of course, include impaired bike riders….s.41, I think….

    1. In a city it should not be dangerous to walk anywhere at any time. If it is, there is something wrong with the design/functioning of the city. For half a century moving cars was more important than good, safe urban design. Don’t use that as an excuse to blame victims. Work at fixing it. The best way is to constrict the flow of motor vehicles and give more space to human power and transit.
      Big trucks have little place in most of the city and should be limited to absolute need like heavy construction requirements and port access. I often peer in these big multi-tonne delivery trucks roaming around downtown to see them mostly empty. A large van would do the job.
      Big trucks have been routinely causing chaos at the lane between Hastings and Pender at Granville, backing in and out of the lanes across sidewalks full of pedestrians right in front of a metro station entrance – horns bleating, back-up alarms blaring, degrading the urban experience and a recipe for disaster. Since they painted that lane the truck chaos has been slashed by 2/3 (my observation and to my pleasant surprise). Where did they go?
      Like SOVs do trucks expand to fill the space and contract when space is reallocated, even subtly so?

  7. Vancouver has always been a bit strange with all the allowed left turns without a dedicated lane, off arterials. I’m not quite sure why. There are many instances where drivers shoot across the oncoming three-lane arterial to turn left into residential areas. Streets such as: Broadway, Kingsway, Knight, Main, Oak, Granville and others. Many cities do not allow this for a number of reasons. To maintain the smooth flow of the traffic on the arterial is the main reason, traffic caught behind a delayed left turning vehicle tends to swerve into the right side lane and often causes incidents, is another.
    Vancouver is also changing the pedestrian and bike patterns and installing signage and traffic movements that are not standard around the world, or even in Canada. Sometimes these new signs take a few seconds to decipher and those seconds can be critical. A nervous driver that wants to keep moving and then comes up to Hornby and Hastings and wants to turn right will easily become nervous. The right turn on a red is no longer allowed and the right turn on green crosses the protected bike lane and is a very short cycle. If pedestrians are crossing slowly only one or two vehicles get through. This is also happening at many other intersections downtown. Right on Hornby at Nelson is another. Right turns off Dunsmuir westbound are the same.
    It’s one thing to have protected bike lanes and use traffic congestion as a regulator of traffic volume. All very nice in principal for pedestrians and cyclists but the confusion and frustrations of drivers and the stress on drivers will obviously lead to conflicts and likely to little mistakes and jerky moves that are almost always innocent but devastating to some.
    Pedestrians and cyclists need to understand that no driver wants to hit them. All drivers know very well that hitting a pedestrian or a cyclist is a royal pain that can be expensive, time consuming and very depressing. Eye contact and fair play in getting through and around intersections, as well as ensuring that you are visible, is the best solution.

    1. Protected intersections are not made to regulate traffic volume but to to ensure safety. Most roads are still designed for maximum vehicle throughput without concern for the safety of those walking and cycling. I am glad that the city is taking safety seriously.
      Eye contact may be meaningless, because there have been cases where a driver did not see me even though they were looking right at me. One cannot rely on eye contact.

    2. You’re basically saying we can’t do anything about nervous, stressed, frustrated and confused drivers, so we should make it as easy for them to drive around at the expense of everyone else.

      1. I’m saying that in the design of streets all factors need to be taken into consideration.
        You can’t just say we’ll prosecute those that break laws and all lives will be saved. If this were the case then there would not have been the need, or the idea that slowing traffic in the Downtown East Side to Vancouver to 30km was necessary because the semi-conscious that are living there do not follow jay-walking laws.
        If some drivers are confused by overly complex road or directional signal patterns then incidents will occur due to human nature. Squashing of people by wheeled vehicles could be the result.
        It’s very well known that special signage pointing out change is highly recommended when traffic patterns or directions are altered. This is not done just to be nice. It’s common sense and done for the safety of all.
        Safety that considers human nature is essential to save injuries and lives. It cannot just be engineering and laws. ‘Just say no’ doesn’t work in the real world.

  8. “You can’t just say we’ll prosecute those that break laws and all lives will be saved”
    I never said that, or anything remotely like that.
    “If some drivers are confused by overly complex road or directional signal patterns then incidents will occur due to human nature.”
    No, if they are confused by regulatory signage they should study up and travel at slower speeds so that they can respond appropriately. It’s quite silly to argue it’s ‘human nature’ to get in crashes because you’re confused about signage.

    1. …”They should study up”? That is somewhat wishful thinking. Earlier this year the Vancouver Sun reported, “Tourism Vancouver predicts a 2.9-per-cent increase in tourism in 2015 which would bring the number of overnight visitors to 9.3 million.”
      “• Of the almost 9 million people to visit Vancouver each year, 61% are from Canada, 23% from the USA and 16% from other countries.”
      We can be certain that some of these people arrive in their own car, or truck and many will avail themselves of a rental car.
      The city always has a number of people that live elsewhere driving around. That is why the signage and road patterns must always consider the general standards, so that lives can been saved.
      Any city that unilaterally starts plastering its streets with unique and different road traffic signage than people experience elsewhere, is placing its pedestrians, cyclists and its drivers at risk.

      1. It would be interesting to see if there has been study of the ‘uniqueness’ danger … though one might argue that this is the same rationale used FOR woonerfs, narrow lanes, and shared spaces in general, that by confusing people and making things seem less certain, you make people instinctively slow down.
        I would assume in practice one would find that there is good uncertainty, and bad uncertainty, Schrödinger’s indication perhaps.

      2. I don’t care where you’re from, if you as a driver have trouble understanding road signs, or are traveling at such speeds that you can’t react to new or different road signs, you shouldn’t be driving.
        Also, can you show me where the City is plastering its streets with unique and different road signs? Show me some examples.

        1. “The B.C. Ministry of Transportation has agreed to a slew of changes after public complaints about poor signage on roads in Metro Vancouver and promises more to come for Highway 17, the new South Fraser Perimeter Road.” http://www.vancouversun.com/Reader+complaints+spur+signage+changes+highway/11435695/story.html
          Not specifically about Vancouver, but: http://www.cbc.ca/news/trending/american-tries-to-figure-out-what-canadian-road-signs-mean-and-fails-1.3137763

        2. @Don: It’s not quite so simple to implore people to slow down. The city understands this. Road design and signage are integral to safe roadways.
          For example:
          “A safer Burrard-Pacific intersection for all road users
          To reduce collisions and conflicts at the Burrard-Pacific intersection, we propose to:
          Replace slip lanes with dedicated turn lanes
          Create protected signal phases for different road users and turn movements
          Increase separation between people walking, cycling, and driving”
          City of Vancouver.

  9. I’ve come close to hitting two pedestrians in my life. Both times I was making a left turn from a complete stop and simply didn’t see them until we were within arm’s length of each other. The first time was a few years ago in Surrey. There was a lot of oncoming traffic and I was eager to take advantage of the only gap in traffic I could see. I didn’t even check to see if the crosswalk was clear. I was negligent and very, very lucky.
    The second time was a few weeks ago at the T-intersection at 16th and Blanca on a dark and rainy night. During the red light I checked the near side sidewalks and there was nobody there. I then looked to the far side, but all was dark as the forest always is at night. Both lanes turn left and there was a pickup truck beside me so I had to watch very carefully as I advanced to ensure I didn’t turn too sharply and hit the median or take the turn too widely and hit the truck. So it came as the greatest shock of my life when my brain registered two bicycle wheels and a human silhouette in the median just outside my side window as my car entered the crosswalk. Had I gotten there a second earlier I might have killed someone without ever seeing them. Surely some part of the bike should have reflected even if the person was in matte black from head to toe, but I never saw anything out the front window to suggest there was anything there but empty road. The truck on my right raced ahead so quickly that driver can’t have seen anything either.
    Since then I’ve been a slower and more vigilant driver, much to the chagrin of everyone around me who wants to exceed the speed limit, and a more careful pedestrian. One night I found myself leaving the house in black shoes, navy blue pants and a black fleece jacket. As I was putting the key in the lock I had a flashback to that night in the rain. I went back inside, grabbed a flashlight and donned a white baseball cap.

  10. Eric,
    The google street view post–no right turns except for bikes. Pretty straightforward. If that’s the kind of sign you think is too confusing for drivers, they should not have a drivers license.

    1. Um, there is a driver, turning right, who isn’t on a bike.
      Apparently, that which is ‘pretty straightforward’ isn’t necessarily so.
      But I agree with you wholeheartedly, this driver (and many others), shouldn’t have a driver’s license. Thank you for establishing a useful lower bound for minimum required driver ability. Can we roll this standard out province-wide tomorrow please?

      1. Yeah, they are either too stupid to have a license or just don’t care about the rules. Either way, the sign is not confusing.

        1. Your right, that sign specifically isn’t, but looking at the preceding signs in a holistic fashion, the fact that one has no indication of where one can turn right leads to drivers going to one intersection, slowing down, getting annoyed when they can’t turn right, speeding up and going to the next intersection, feigning right again, realizing again they can’t turn, before finally saying fukit and turning right anyway, one block before they could have actually turned right legally.
          If there was some signage which indicated what was happening ahead, this wouldn’t be necessary. Same goes for turning left off of Georgia St. going either direction, not knowing anything about when ahead one might turn leads to people turning illegally.
          So ya, not confusing per say, but in the grand scheme of things, certainly confusing to many.

    2. Here is a new sign which is a bit more complex:
      Right turn allowed but yield to cyclists coming from both directions. Also, the green carpet is supposed to indicate a conflict zone, however there has been no driver education on these new features. Ditto for bike boxes and elephant feet crossings. I can see that a driver encountering this stuff for the first time may have some challenges, but if so, they should be that much more careful.
      Unfortunately, our default motordom culture encourages lawbreaking and reduced observance of ones surroundings simply because the only consequence is that the inevitable collision is simply called an “accident” and motordom continues.

      1. … made more complex because there are now also some orange pylons protecting the bike lane … which all look like they have been run over several times already.
        And speaking of the green painted bike box – it has no backing in law, unlike a crosswalk. This is therefore confusing for people.
        The number of drivers who don’t know what a bus only symbol is also evidence of confusion where the words ‘BUS LANE’ are absent (thinking on Pender here, but lots of others also)

    3. There are two directional arrows showing ‘right’, plus green lights and a couple of no-right-turn signs. Did you notice the SUV making an illegal turn? Were they sneaking through, or following the two right arrows and the green traffic signals, or just plain stupid? The pleading of anyone squashed in this situation would be sad. The driver would be in the wrong but a jury might have sympathy with a strong defence based on the collection of signs.
      Do you want me find another one with those cute mini traffic lights, that are just for cyclists but not if one is driving in France where they are posted for all traffic?

      1. Not clear which location you are referring to.
        In the Hornby view you posted, there are no “right” arrows. There is what one may consider an SUV turning right illegally.
        In the Beatty view posted, there are two directional arrows indicating that the right lane is for right turns, and a yield sign on right to indicate that it isn’t a protected right turn.
        Seems pretty clear.
        Are you referring to mini traffic lights with a picture of a bike in them? Are those confusing to drivers?

        1. Given that the signs under discussion are all standardized throughout BC, and referenced in the Manual of Standard Traffic Signs and Pavement Markings (2000), published by MoTI, for all BC roads, I don’t think it should be necessary to stand at the corner and tell people not to ignore them. R8 (one way road), R15 (turn control, no right turn) and R82 (lane use, right turn from this lane) are all referenced.
          You appear to be suggesting that these signs don’t conform to established norms, when they clearly do.

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