With shorter days, longer nights and wet weather, pedestrians going for a walk at night need to be vigilant, according to a report from the B.C. chief coroner’s office.
The message hit close to home when two elderly women were hit by a car in Trail on Tuesday night. One of the pedestrians was transported to Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital for treatment of a few broken bones. The other was taken to Kelowna for treatment after suffering head injuries. She is currently listed as being in severe condition.
The two women have survived the collision, but that wasn’t the case for five separate incidents across the province. The coroner’s office report states that between Nov. 23 and Dec. 3, five pedestrians, all seniors, were killed by vehicles in Vancouver, New Westminster, Oliver and Kelowna.
The report also states that people over the age of 70 are twice as likely to be die in a pedestrian accident than any other age group.
In the case of the two women in Trail, Sgt. John Ferguson of the West Kootenay Traffic Services (WKTS), says the time of night, just after 7 p.m., and road conditions were factors in the crash at Second Ave. and Roberston St. at a crosswalk near Safeway.
“From what (the attending officer) said, the crosswalk is not very well lit,” he said. “It was also dark and rainy with that shiny glare from oncoming vehicles and that type of thing.”
Even with all of those factors, the B.C. coroner’s office has a few tips for elderly pedestrians to stay safe while walking after dark.
All walkers should wear light coloured clothing if walking at night, or have a reflective strip on their clothing, stay alert and make eye contact with drivers before crossing, don’t assume a crosswalk or green light means it is safe to cross, look every direction before crossing and make yourself more visible to drivers by holding out a hand to signal intention to cross the road.
Sgt. Ferguson says the incident in Trail wasn’t caused by a speeding or alcohol-related.
West Kootenay Traffic Services are continuing to investigate the crash in Trail.