Q&A - Pedestrian Problems in Nelson

Motor Vehicle Act section 179:

(2) A pedestrian must not leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close it is impracticable for the driver to yield the right of way.

Here in Nelson I see and read about may crosswalk conflict incidents. What I am seeing is that pedestrians are walking briskly along a side street and continuing onto the crosswalk without pausing and looking. Approaching drivers cannot anticipate this since the pedestrian is not present on the crosswalk as he approaches. The driver cannot observe and anticipate the action of a person who is not yet at the crosswalk. He has no idea if he will cross or turn or stop.

In my opinion the pedestrian is violating (2) by not stopping and looking. I think that a change in the wording and an information campaign would of benefit and could prevent injuries.



This behaviour is so common that even the Darwin Awards are not interested!

As for pedestrian safety campaigns, a quick Google of ICBC pedestrian safety 2015 turns up a lot of material. I think that many people discount the information as not being important. Likely the police don't either as only 170 tickets were written for this violation in BC during 2014. I would bet that most of those were written in the Lower Mainland, but I have no proof to back that up.

I'm not sure what you mean by "a change in the wording." Are you thinking about rewriting the Motor Vehicle Act in plain English?


The linked campaigns mention making eye contact but how is that achieved if you are already in motion stepping off the curb and have to look down some to avoid tripping? Often the side street to the highway has a stop sign but I don't think most pedestrians feel that they have to observe it.

"(2) A pedestrian must not leave a curb or other place of safety and walk" implies that the pedestrian is stopped before leaving but it is open to judgement and interpretation. Really, the law doesn't require a stop except for when "a vehicle that is so close it is impracticable for the driver to yield the right of way."

If the law explicitly stated stop and look before crossing many incidents would be avoided. As it is some people will literally jog along the side street and carry on across the thru highway expecting the traffic to part. Clarity would reduce the confusion. In practice responsibility falls on the motorist as the pedestrian often thinks he has little duty of care.


I don't care if I'm on a sidewalk or " Safe Place" I watch all vehicles that are approching in any direction, they have the right of way even if they decide to drive on the sidewalk. Of course your family could sue the driver that came up on the sidewalk that ran you down if you didn't survive, but my rule is if it's bigger and faster than you, it has the right of way, being dead right is not an option in my books :-)

I have also seen semi tires break off a semi and come across the sidewalk and crash through a brick fence, the semi stayed on the road but if I wasn't paying attention and stopped, that wheel would have hit me and at minimum done some damage to me, maybe worse, and there was no sound to warn me before it just missed me.

So just because the light is green and the walk light comes on for me to cross, or there is a stop sign for cross traffic makes Zero differance on my decision to cross the road, the law can't protect you body vs motor vehicle, the motor vehicle wins every time no matter if it's right or wrong. That's my reality check anyways :-)

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