New survey reveals only 20 per cent of pedestrians feel safe at night in wet weather


IN B.C., on average, there are 86 per cent more crashes where a pedestrian is injured in November and December compared to July and August. In the Lower Mainland, the number of crashes where a pedestrian is injured more than doubles in November and December compared to July and August.

That’s why ICBC is urging drivers and pedestrians to focus their full attention on the road and always be on the lookout for each other in these dark, fall conditions.

In a recent survey conducted by ICBC, only 20 per cent of pedestrians reported that they feel safe at night in wet weather yet only about the same number (21 per cent) of respondents regularly wear reflective gear or clothing to help drivers see them. Meanwhile, 33 per cent of drivers admit to often nearly hitting pedestrians wearing dark clothing.

“Public safety is our first priority,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “During these fall and winter months, we’re asking pedestrians to do their part to help drivers see them – wear reflective gear and bright clothing. Drivers need to be constantly looking for pedestrians – especially during dark afternoon commutes and in poor weather.”

“Whether you are a driver, a cyclist or a pedestrian, many of the road crashes that happen as winter approaches can be prevented by making early choices to increase your personal safety,” said Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice. “Cross the street at a lit crosswalk, ensure both you and your pet are visible by attaching a light to your dog when out walking at night and always stay off the phone when you’re crossing the street.”

Despite only one quarter of pedestrians surveyed admitting to using their cell phones while walking near roadways, more than 90 per cent of drivers reported often seeing pedestrians using their cell phone while crossing the street and 83 per cent often seeing pedestrians jaywalking while using their phones.

“There’s a clear disconnect between how pedestrians and drivers perceive their own behaviours and what is actually happening on our roads,” said John Vavrik, a psychologist at ICBC. “We need to be honest with ourselves about the risks we’re taking as drivers and pedestrians especially at this time of year.”

“These crashes are preventable and as drivers, we have a particular responsibility to help keep vulnerable road users like pedestrians safe,” said Chief Constable Jamie Graham, Chair of the Traffic Safety Committee of the British Columbia Association of Chiefs of Police. “When turning at an intersection, always scan the crosswalk first for pedestrians. As a pedestrian, make sure you’re visible and always make eye contact with drivers – never assume a driver has seen you.”

Here are ICBC’s key tips for pedestrians and drivers: