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How to stay safe on our roads: tips for pedestrians

October 11, 2019

On average, 2,300 pedestrians are injured in car crashes every year across British Columbia, and for the most part are entirely preventable.

Whether you are driving to work, cycling to school, or walking your dog, awareness of your surroundings is key to ensuring everyone using our streets remains safe.

How pedestrians can stay safe

Making%20BC%E2%80%99s%20roadways%20pedestrian%20safe%20According to ICBC, the majority of crashes involving pedestrians in British Columbia occur at intersections. 

  • Be on the lookout for drivers approaching crosswalks and intersections – they may not always see you crossing. 
  • Establish eye contact with drivers before stepping off the curb. 
  • While jaywalking may seem convenient, it’s against the law and can put you and other road users in danger.
  • Wear reflective gear so motorists can see you.
  • Always walk on the sidewalk, but it there isn’t one, walk facing oncoming traffic so you can see what’s coming.
  • Distracted walking puts you at risk. Take a break from music and your smartphone when crossing the street.

Kids are pedestrians too

From October 7 until November 1, kids across BC will be taking part in Be Active Every Day, aiming to get themselves moving at least 60 minutes every day. This will likely involve spending more time outside, so it’s important children know the rules of the road and stay safe.

  • Doctors of BC has some handy pedestrian safety tips for parents and guardians to share with their children. 
  • Leading by example will show children that road safety is something they should care about. 
  • Let children know they should always be on the lookout for signs that a vehicle is about to move, such as rear lights switching on, wheels turning, and exhaust fumes.
  • Tell your kids to be aware that vehicles can often move without warning, and to expect the unexpected.

Tips for drivers 

Everyone needs to work together to make BC’s roadways and streets safer.

  • Be prepared to yield to pedestrians, particularly near public transit stops, stopped school buses, intersections, and crosswalks. 
  • Be aware that vehicles that have stopped near you may be yielding for a pedestrian. 
  • Stay focused: distracted driving increases the risk of accidents, and in BC the fine for a single distracted driving violation ticket is $368, along with 4 penalty points on your record.
  • Always obey the speed limit.

Safe biking

Cyclists also have a role to play to ensure our roads are safe for all to use.

  • Riding on designated bike lanes separates cyclists from cars and pedestrians reducing the chance of collision.
  • Yield to pedestrians, particularly near public transit stops, stopped school buses, intersections, and crosswalks. 
  • Remember to use hand signals and shoulder check before taking any turns, to indicate to drivers and pedestrians your intention. 
  • Make sure you are visible with reflective gear and bike lights so everyone can see you coming. 

BC’s doctors hope these safety tips will help make our roads a safer place for pedestrians and other users. 

If you have a question, suggestion, or comment for us about this topic or others, feel free to email us at communications@doctorsofbc.ca.