With the change to earlier afternoon darkness as a result of the time change this weekend, the BC Coroners Service is urging both pedestrians and motorists to take greater care to avoid pedestrian-vehicle accidents.
The need for greater care is highlighted by new statistics which show that last month (October), 10 pedestrians died following road accidents, more than twice the average number for October over the past six years. The total number of pedestrian lives lost in B.C. this year up until Oct. 31 is 47. The number of pedestrian fatalities has remained relatively stable since at least 2010.
Coroners statistics show that, consistently, pedestrian deaths occur more frequently in the fall and winter months, with January, November and December being the months with the highest numbers.
The most recent statistics show that the five townships with the highest number of these deaths are all in the Lower Mainland. Vancouver has the highest number (about 16% of the total), followed by Surrey (13%), Abbotsford (6%), Richmond (5%) and Burnaby (4%).
“Each of these deaths is a tragedy for family, friends and loved ones left behind,” said chief coroner Lisa Lapointe. “Our investigations show clearly that both motorists and pedestrians have a responsibility to avoid these incidents. Pedestrians need to be aware that even in cases where they are legally in the right, they are invariably going to be the ones seriously injured or killed in a collision with a motor vehicle.”
Drivers need to watch particularly carefully for pedestrians when turning left or right at intersections as these are one of the most common places where incidents occur.
Pedestrians need to ensure drivers can see them, particularly when it is dark or visibility is poor because of weather conditions such as heavy rain. They should wear bright or light coloured clothing, or don reflective materials and/or carry a light at those times.
The latest BC Coroners Service report on pedestrian fatalities is available at: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/public-safety-and-emergency-services/death-investigation/statistical/mvi-pedestrian.pdf