Edmonton, Alta. – Some people may think that pedestrian safety is an issue only people living in large cities such as Calgary and Edmonton need to worry about. As of October 31, 2016, 159 pedestrians were involved in motor vehicle collisions in Alberta RCMP jurisdictions in 2016. Four of these pedestrians died; the other 155 were injured. These startling numbers show that pedestrian safety is an issue across Alberta.
“Pedestrian safety is a shared responsibility between drivers and pedestrians,” said Inspector Steve Daley, Acting Officer in Charge of Alberta RCMP Traffic Services. “We need everyone to do their part in keeping our roads safe.”
November is Pedestrian Safety Month. Below are safety tips for both drivers and pedestrians.
Increase Your Visibility
-Make sure you’re visible to drivers at all times.
-Make eye contact with drivers whenever possible.
-Stay in well-lit areas, especially when crossing the street.
-Wear lightly coloured or reflective clothing at night and brightly coloured clothing during the day.
-Make eye contact with drivers in vehicles to ensure they see you before you cross in front of them.
Stay Alert – Avoid Distractions
-Phones are a part of everyday life but they distract your attention and eyes from the environment around you.
-Studies show that use of a cell phone while crossing the street interferes with cautious behaviour, reduces situational awareness and poses a threat to pedestrians. (Countermeasures to Improve Pedestrian Safety in Canada. CCMTA 2013).
-Put your phone away when walking or waiting for a walk light.
-Don’t wear headphones. Your ears are an asset and tell you about what is happening around you.
Follow Traffic Rules
-Know and follow all traffic rules, signs and signals. Being aware of the rules that vehicles must follow allows you to anticipate what drivers will do.
-Never assume that a driver will give you the right of way.
Walk in Safe Places
-Use crosswalks when crossing the street.
-Stay on sidewalks whenever possible. If a sidewalk is not available, walk on the far side of the road facing traffic. This will help increase your visibility to drivers.
-Avoid walking along highways or other roadways where pedestrians are prohibited.
Avoid Alcohol Consumption
-In Canada in 2008, among fatality injured pedestrians who were tested for alcohol, almost 40 percent had been drinking and 27 percent had BAC’s over 160% (Countermeasures to Improve Pedestrian Safety in Canada. CCMTA 2013.)
-Alcohol and drugs impair your decision-making skills, physical reflexes and reduces your ability to respond quickly in traffic situations.
-Look out for pedestrians at all times.
-By operating a vehicle, you have accepted a heightened responsibility for other people on the road.
-In Alberta, the fine for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk is $776 and four demerit points. The fine is the same for passing a vehicle at a crosswalk.
-Follow posted speed limits at all times, especially in areas of heavy pedestrian traffic. This is especially important in areas with low speed limits, such as school zones and neighborhood streets.
-Ensure that your lights are on and clean. Use your signal lights properly.
-Be mindful of pedestrians when pulling in and out of driveways – especially if you are backing up.
-Pedestrians can easily enter your path without your knowledge.
-Always yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.
-When approaching a crosswalk, reduce your speed and be prepared to stop.
-Do not pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. They have stopped to allow pedestrians to pass or make sure the way is clear.
Do Not Drive Impaired
-Alcohol and drugs impair your reaction time, reflexes, decision-making skills and overall cognitive functions.
-Getting behind the wheel while impaired puts everyone in danger.
*See attachment for heat map of motor vehicle collisions involving pedestrians in Alberta.