Summer is coming to an end, but for those with children this can be an exciting time as students head back to school this September. For B.C. drivers, this means we are sharing the road with more pedestrians, as many more children are out and about walking to and from school.
According to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), on average 290 children aged five to eighteen are injured in motor vehicle collisions every year and 5 children are killed in such accidents. This is despite several measures taken to increase pedestrian saftey (including higher tickets for speeding in school zones) and information made available on high pedestrian collision intersections. Additionally, ICBC provides free road safety materials to B.C. schools to increase pedestrian safety.
Pedestrians that take precautions to keep safe still face some risk of becoming injured in a motor vehicle accident. To improve pedestrian safety in your area, you can familiarize yourself with common types of motor vehicle-pedestrian accidents and learn safety tips. You also need to know what to do if you or a loved one is injured in an accident.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
According to ICBC 75 percent of motor vehicle-pedestrian accidents occur at intersections. ICBC reports that drivers failing to yield the right of way is a significant problem in B.C. In fact, seven out of ten pedestrians who are killed in intersections are hit by vehicles turning left when the pedestrian has the right of way; it’s one of the leading causes of crashes that result in injuries or deaths. Intersections are hot spots for failure-to-yield crashes – they are busy locations where a number of road users need to cross paths and share space.
Another common cause of accidents for pedestrians is when the driver or pedestrian ignores traffic control devices. For example, a pedestrian may take a short cut by walking outside the crosswalk or proceeding without the right of way, but this may cause an accident where contributory negligence is found. Similarly, for drivers who are in a rush and do a “rolling stop” at a stop sign or make an unsafe left hand turn on a yellow light, the intention of saving time can result in an accident that seriously injures or kills a pedestrian.
Finally, with increasing technology both drivers and pedestrians are becoming more distracted by devices at intersections. Distracted driving is the second-highest cause of fatal accidents in B.C., responsible for an average of 88 fatalities in B.C. each year. Stiffer penalties are anticipated in the coming months after RoadSafetyBC considers feedback from a public consultation on distracted driving.
Staying Safe as a Pedestrian
In order to maximize your safety as a pedestrian, you must at all times obey the traffic laws. Since most accidents with pedestrians occur at intersections, you should wait until you have the right of way and cross the road within the crosswalk boundaries. Be aware of what traffic around you is doing and try to limit distractions such as listening to an iPod or texting while walking. Avoid wearing dark clothing as it is important to stay visible to traffic, so drivers and cyclists can see you, especially when it is dark out or there is inclement weather. If you are a frequent walker or jogger in the early morning or evening, you may want to invest in a jacket with reflective strips to allow increased visibility at night. Always walk on the sidewalk where available. If no sidewalk is available walk on the left side of the road, facing oncoming traffic.
Steps for Injured Pedestrians
If you or a loved one is injured in a motor vehicle-pedestrian accident, then medical treatment should be immediately sought. You should also seek to obtain information about the accident or the aftermath from witnesses. You will need the driver’s name and contact information, including his or her insurance information and evidence of your injuries. Before taking any further steps contact one of our B.C. personal injury lawyers to assist you.
At Taylor & Blair Personal Injury Lawyers in Vancouver, our experienced car accident lawyers have represented many injured pedestrians. We provide a free consultation and work on a contingency basis, which means that we do not collect fees until your case is settled successfully. Our personal accident lawyers in Surrey, Burnaby, Richmond or Port Coquitlam can help you as well. All of our offices are wheelchair accessible. Contact us at (604) 737-6900 or at one of other lower mainland locations.