Winter are the danger months for pedestrians in this Province. Almost double the number of pedestrians are seriously injured in vehicle crashes between October and January when compared to the four month period between May and August.
In the entire province almost one third of all pedestrian deaths happen in Vancouver and Surrey, with nearly 60 percent of those deaths being males. In the last nine years 151 pedestrians have been killed in just those two municipalities.
Metro Vancouver is unique in having dark, wet winter days and evenings without the reflectivity of snow. Add in trees and rain and it is difficult for vulnerable road users, those without a steel vehicle frame to protect them, to be seen by vehicle drivers.
But there is a new wrinkle in Vancouver this year and it is worthy of note. To date ten pedestrians have been killed in the City of Vancouver. But four of those victims, or 40 percent were killed while they were on sidewalks.
That sobering horrible statistic suggests that wearing bright clothes or reflection does not help when vehicle drivers are out of control and crash their cars into people on sidewalks. There were two students killed walking on a sidewalk at University of British Columbia. A vehicle crashed into a father carrying his two year old daughter in July. (There is a Go Fund Me campaign for the parents, who both witnessed the death). And in November a man in a wheelchair was killed when a vehicle driver lost control and crashed into him on a Davie Street sidewalk.
Kudos to the Vancouver Sun for producing a responsible video that outlines the statistics about pedestrian serious injuries and fatalities and do not once mention wearing reflectivity. That video is posted below.
In partnership with police departments, ICBC (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia) records sixty different contributing factors to pedestrian fatalities across the province, and you can view that graph here. In the last four years driver speed, driver distraction, and driver being impaired were the top three factors resulting in pedestrian deaths.
We need to address driver road speed, driver distraction, driver impairment and road design.
All of these factors are out of the pedestrians’ control.
Slowing driver road speeds in municipalities should be a no brainer. The UBCM (Union of British Columbia Municipalities) unanimously approved a motion asking the Province to allow for 30 kilometer per hour designations for residential areas off arterials. That was two years ago.
That designation would allow these neighbourhood areas to enact lower driver speed limit without placing costly regulatory signage on every street.
That would enable municipalities to spend that funding on slower street road design.
No one should lose their life on a sidewalk.