Residents of Sidney were given safety reflector tags as part of a provincial safety campaign.
In collaboration with ICBC, the Sidney North Saanich RCMP promoted safety on the streets of Beacon Avenue recently, educating the public about pedestrian safety by helping them increase their visibility.
“We are out on the street, Beacon and Bevan and all around the community trying to educate pedestrians and road users to have reflective clothing and be seen at night,” said ICBC Road Safety Co-ordinator, Colleen Woodger.
“The second message we really want to get across is that you need to catch the driver’s eye. Don’t assume the driver sees you, so make eye contact, whether you’re at a crosswalk, unmarked crosswalk, wherever you are always make sure that you make that connection with the driver before you step out on the road,” she added.
She said because there are rural communities on the Saanich Peninsula with no sidewalks, ICBC encourages pedestrians to walk facing traffic when there are no roads with a sidewalk.
Another thing pedestrians should do is pay attention to where they are going, so that means removing headphones and putting the cellphone down to scan intersections.
Also, people should make sure vehicles are stopped — even if it’s a multi-lane crosswalk.
“If a vehicle is turning left, they may be focussing on the oncoming traffic and not scanning that intersection for a pedestrian. And that’s a really common crash.”
Woodger said ICBC sees many incidents involving pedestrians and vehicles in crosswalks across B.C.
“We’re seeing about nearly one in five people killed in crashes are actually pedestrians so they’re extremely vulnerable,” she said, referencing province-wide statistics.
Whether you are a pedestrian or on a scooter (also considered a pedestrian) or on a bike, you need to be reflective.
“It’s a shared responsibility between all road users, it’s not just the pedestrian’s responsibility,” Woodger said. “Drivers need to be aware, especially with these dark nights, (pedestrians) become fairly hard to see.”