ICBC is warning pedestrians and drivers alike to be careful on the roads with the change in weather and daylight hours.
RCMP along with the provincial insurance agency are launching a pedestrian safety campaign. Crashes involving pedestrians nearly double at this time of year, the agencies say.
In Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows pedestrian involved crashes reported to ICBC have been decreasing over the past five years.
Be a safe pedestrian (ICBC)
There were 60 reported in 2016 in Maple Ridge, 58 the following year, 59 in 2018, 50 in 2019, and only 12 in 2020.
The same held true for Pitt Meadows where 14 were reported in 2016, then 10 the following year, 11 in 2018, 5 in 2019, and a low of two in 2020.
Lindsay Wilkins attributes the low numbers in 2020 to the COVID-19 pandemic because people were commuting less to work and school and doing less travelling in general.
“That’s why we have been able to offer covid rebates because there were significantly less crashes than normal,” she explained.
However, pedestrians should not be less vigilant because of these numbers.
In the Lower Mainland about 1,500 pedestrians are injured in 2,000 crashes every year.
ICBC reports that nearly half of all pedestrian fatalities occur between October and January with the onset of rainy conditions and the decrease in daylight. And they are the most vulnerable road users when a crash does occur.
Distracted driving and failing to yield the right-of-way are the top contributing factors for drivers in crashes with pedestrians, ICBC notes, with more than three-quarters of crashes involving pedestrians occurring at intersections.
Driving tips from the insurance agency include taking extra time to scan for pedestrians near transit stops and before turning at intersections, to avoid distractions, and be ready to yield.
Pedestrians should make eye contact with drivers, watch for drivers turning at intersections, and use designated crosswalks.
ICBC and community policing volunteers will be handing out reflectors and safety tips in high pedestrian traffic areas across the province for the campaign.
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