Health and Safety: Motorists, Pedestrians and Cyclists

Injuries due to all types of transportation – motor vehicle, walking, or cycling – are a big problem in Alberta.

Motor Vehicle Safety

Many adults drive every day. It may even be part of your job. It’s easy to forget that driving means that you use a lot of skills, often at the same time.

Common reasons for motor vehicle injuries include being distracted, having drugs or alcohol in your system, being aggressive when driving, being tired, not wearing a seatbelt and, sometimes, not enough training or the right training.

Take smart risks to reduce injuries that have to do with any type of motor vehicle (e.g., car, truck, motorcycle).

Look First

Look first means you think ahead.

  • Be alert – remember that you share the road with other motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.
  • Make sure you can see the road clearly. Take time to clear ice, snow, and dirt from the windows and lights.
  • When turning, look both ways for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Be patient, especially with children, older pedestrians, or adults with small children or strollers – they may need more time to cross the road.
  • Slow down on residential streets and in school, playground, and construction zones.

Get Trained

  • Proper training and practice can reduce the risk of injury.
  • Take a defensive driving course, sign up for motorcycle training, and obey the rules of the road.

Buckle Up

  • Seat belts and child safety seats are two of the best safety devices ever invented – they save lives and prevent injuries.
  • Wearing a seat belt is the law in Alberta. But it’s more than that: it just makes good sense. Make it a habit. It sets a good example for others, including your own children.

Drive Sober

  • Give driving your full attention! There is no place for drugs or alcohol in your system, being aggressive when driving, being tired, or distracted – you increase the risk of injuring yourself and others.
  • Alberta’s distracted driving law restricts drivers from texting, reading, using hand-held cell phones, and other distracting activities while driving. The fine for this offence is $287. For more information about the distracted driving law read Distracted Driving Legislation Bill 16.

Cycling Safety

When you ride a bicycle on the road it is classified as a vehicle. Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles. Remember to share the road. Since bicycles are one of the smallest vehicles on the road, you have to make sure you are seen and heard. Reflective tape, reflectors, and lights make it easier to be seen. Bright clothing catches people’s attention in the daytime.

Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrian injuries from motor vehicles are among the most serious. Pedestrian safety is for everyone – it doesn’t matter how old you are. When you are a pedestrian, take smart risks to reduce your chance of being injured.

Look First

  • Make sure motorists and cyclists can see you.
  • Remember – you share the road with motorists and cyclists.
  • Use pedestrian lights if the intersection has them. Always check the intersection before stepping onto the crosswalk or road, even if there are lights. Don’t cross in the middle of the block or between parked cars.
  • If there are no crossing lights, wait until it is safe to cross. Assume drivers can’t see you.
  • Make eye contact with drivers and wait for cars to stop. Even cars that seem to be slowing down may not stop. Wait until traffic has come to a complete stop before crossing. Watch for traffic turning at intersections or into driveways.
  • Pay attention, be aware of your surroundings, and be in control of your actions when you are walking. Having drugs or alcohol in your system or talking on your cell phone are the kinds of distractions that make you more at risk for an injury when walking.

Wear the Gear

  • Wear bright or light-coloured clothing or reflective strips when walking at dusk or at night. It’s a good idea to carry a flashlight or wear a flashing red light at night.
  • Use a cane, walker, or another type of mobility aid if needed.
  • Wear your glasses and hearing aids.

Get Trained

  • Know and obey the rules of the road.
  • At traffic lights, cross as soon as the light turns green or the walk signal says walk. Don’t cross once the Don’t Walk signal starts to flash or once the light has turned yellow. Never cross at a red light.

Source: Provincial Injury Prevention Program, Alberta Health Services