New figures from ICBC show that on average, 250 pedestrians are injured in 350 crashes every year on Vancouver Island. ICBC released the figure as part of a safety campaign urging pedestrians and drivers to stay safe as crashes involving pedestrians nearly double at this time of year.
According to ICBC, nearly half of all pedestrian fatalities happen between October and January as the weather changes and daylight hours decrease.
An average of 52 pedestrians die and 2,400 suffer injuries in 2,700 crashes every year, based on a five-year-average from 2016 to 2020. More than half (roughly 55 per cent) of fatalities occur between October and January. Crashes between October and January injure an average of 1,080 pedestrians, compared to 570 pedestrians injured between May and August.
“(Pedestrians) are among the most vulnerable road users when a crash occurs,” according to an ICBC background report. “Distracted driving and failing to yield the right-of-way are the top contributing factors for drivers in crashes with pedestrians, with more than three-quarters of crashes involving pedestrians occurring at intersections.”
Chief Constable Neil Dubord, who chairs the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police traffic safety committee, said police see a growing number of crashes involving pedestrians as daylight hours shorten and bad weather increases. “These are particularly tragic as pedestrians are vulnerable road users, and often include children, the elderly or the distracted,” he said. “We each have a part to play in making our streets safer.”
That appeal includes pedestrians themselves. “Crashes involving pedestrians are highest between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. every day when many of us are commuting home,” said Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s vice-president of public affairs and driver licensing. “It’s important for drivers to leave their phone alone and for pedestrians to stay focused on what’s going on around them.”
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