A new ICBC survey reveals that nine in 10 drivers worry about hitting a pedestrian at night and in wet weather, and eight in 10 pedestrians don’t feel safe in these conditions.
In preparation for the darker skies and drizzly weather that are now here, ICBC, the provincial government, and the police have launched a pedestrian safety campaign across the province.
A disproportionate number of pedestrian-related crashes and injuries happen in just four months of the year—43 per cent of all crashes that injure pedestrians happen between October and January, as visibility and conditions get worse. In the Southern Interior, on average, there are 110 crashes at intersections that involve a pedestrian every year.
“Three-quarters of pedestrian crashes happen at intersections,” says Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s director responsible for road safety. “Unfortunately, pedestrians are extremely vulnerable to be hurt when involved in a crash. These crashes contribute to the rising number of injury claims in our province, which is the largest single cost pressure on B.C. insurance rates, but the reality is that these crashes are preventable. We all need to do our part to keep our roads and pedestrians safe.”
Dark and rainy conditions can seriously impact visibility. ICBC’s new radio and online advertising builds on this by reminding drivers that they see pedestrians when they really look for them. Drivers need to keep their eyes on the road, take a break from their phone, be extra alert at intersections, and be ready to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.
The most important tip for pedestrians is to take extra care to help drivers see you: stay focused on the road and make eye contact. ICBC and community policing volunteers will be handing out reflectors and safety tips in high pedestrian traffic areas across the province to help pedestrians stay visible. Reflective clothing and the use of flashlights while walking in the dark also help pedestrians be seen.
In addition to this month-long campaign, ICBC helps make roads safer for vulnerable road users through its road improvement program. Last year, ICBC invested in more than 160 pedestrian and cyclist-related projects in B.C. These projects included crosswalks, sidewalks, countdown timers, and pedestrian-activated flashing crosswalks.
As the majority of pedestrian crashes occur at intersections, the intersection safety camera program is one of the ways ICBC is working to improve road safety for everyone sharing the road. A partnership between ICBC, government, and police has existed for almost 20 years, and there are 140 cameras set up at the highest-risk intersections in 26 communities in B.C. These can help to change driver behaviour and reduce the number of crashes at intersections.
Find more pedestrian safety tips at icbc.com.