Drive Smart columnist Tim Schewe.

Drivesmart column: Watch where you walk!

A pedestrian has to take responsibility for their safety

By Tim Schewe

A man I observed in a parking lot started me thinking about how little care we sometimes take for our own safety when we are pedestrians.

I was preparing to back out of my parking spot and had put my truck in reverse, then did a scan to the rear before I started letting up on the clutch.

A male crossing behind me did not slow or even bother to look to see what my intentions were.

Perhaps he didn’t even think to notice that my truck was idling and the backup lights were on.

The most recent collision statistics published by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia are for the year 2020.

The provincial five year average ending in 2020 shows that 2,400 pedestrians were injured and 52 died in collisions. One might guess that children would be the most likely victims due to being impulsive and inexperienced.

This is not the case, as the majority of fatalities involved pedestrians over the age of 50.

Older pedestrians were also in the majority when the injured were counted as well.

Why is this happening?

Contributing factors on the pedestrian side included making an error or being confused, being under the influence of alcohol and failing to yield the right of way.

On the driver’s side it was being inattentive, failing to yield the right of way and making an error or being confused.

I walked part way to work this morning and encountered a woman leaving a driveway I was about to cross.

She noticed that I had checked my stride and was making eye contact before I moved into her path. She must not be used to this as she called to me and told me that I didn’t need to worry, I could cross and she wouldn’t hit me.

I appreciated the communication and was confident that I could pass in front of her safely.

The underlying idea here is that a pedestrian has to take responsibility for their safety, even if it means giving up your right of way to an inconsiderate or inattentive driver.

Keep your head up, make eye contact and never move from a place of safety unless you are absolutely certain the drivers have seen you and present no threat of collision.

You may also wish to consider not using items that draw your attention elsewhere such as music players and cell phones when you are walking on a highway.

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement. Learn more at: DriveSmartBC.ca.

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