Pedestrians: Vulnerable Road Users
Yesterday in a four hour period @ScanBC reported a half dozen vehicle / pedestrian collisions around the province on Twitter. Today while out walking during my lunch hour I watched a woman jogging with her back to traffic, in the lane instead of on the sidewalk, while wearing earbuds. A van squeezed between me and the curb as I crossed an intersection on the walk to my vehicle to get home. Are you surprised that these collisions are occurring?
When we walk at night I think that we tend to underestimate how vulnerable we are. We can see all of the vehicles around us because they are brightly lit. Most pedestrians are anything but. We dress in dark clothing, do not wear reflectors or carry a light. This may actually help us hide behind the brightness and go unseen by drivers until the last second or until it is too late.
Both drivers and pedestrians routinely ignore the traffic controls that are there to protect them by creating order and expectation. Why wait? If you think about it, walking when the signal says not to exposes you to drivers making turns who expect you to not be there. Instead, they focus more on finding a gap in traffic to make their turn than anticipating you in the crosswalk.
Right of way or wrong, the pedestrian has the most to lose in a collision. Obey the signals, use the crosswalk, be visible at night and look all around you before you cross the street. It's probably better to wait out the inconvenience than to walk out into traffic and pay the price for haste.