CASE LAW - Fryer v Nakusp

BC Courts Coat of ArmsThe case of Vora v Adams takes place in the Nakusp area. Douglas Fryer was walking on the right side of 10th Avenue NW because that was the side of the road that street lighting was on. There was no sidewalk, the road was strewn with debris from a previous storm and the shoulders were covered by snowbanks.

Mr. Fryer was carrying a light that he pointed at the edge of the pavement so that he would not trip over it's lip.

Marilyn Massey was driving on 10th Avenue NW and approached Mr. Fryer from behind. She did not see Mr. Fryer and she testified that she felt a “bump” or “thud” at the moment of impact and thought she had “run over a dog.” During her direct examination, Ms. Massey testified that she currently suffers from wet macular degeneration, sees double and has cataracts developing.

Madam Justice Morellato examines the rules surrounding driving without reasonable consideration for others and how pedestrians and vehicles are expected in interact. She found that Ms. Massey should have seen Mr. Fryer and not collided with him. She also found that Mr. Fryer was contributorily negligent to a limited degree for failing to walk on the left facing traffic.

Liability was apportioned as 90% for Ms. Massey and 10% for Mr. Fryer.

The problem with walking against traffic at night is that the lights of oncoming vehicles shine right in your eyes and can blind you. This is because the oncoming vehicles are closer to you than they would be if you were walking with traffic and their lights are directed, properly, to the right (into your eyes). In this case, because the shoulders were covered with snow, it is hard to see how the pedestrian could have easily avoided being struck (doubly so as he would probably been blinded by the driver's light).