Watch out for the perils of pedestrians
By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, August 25th 2017
Pedestrians are in danger of being killed or seriously injured on a daily basis.
So why do they behave in such a fashion as to suggest they have a death wish?
Why do they run when it says “Walk”?
Why do they cross in the middle of a city block?
Regardless of their erratic and unpredictable actions, pedestrians everywhere should understand the basic rules of everyday foot traffic.
Drivers must do the same.
Pedestrians should walk facing vehicular traffic when no sidewalk is provided, and stay on the sidewalk when one is provided.
There is such a thing as distracted walking. Many pedestrians are so involved and consumed by their cellphones that they are oblivious to the hazardous situations, particularly at intersections.
Pedestrians should get eye-to-eye contact with drivers at every intersection they want to cross.
Many pedestrians are not drivers. They do not appreciate the complex situations faced by motorvehicle commuters.
That is the reason drivers must take the initiative in announcing their presence.
Atap on the horn is often a good way of drawing the attention of a daydreaming pedestrian.
Flashing the high beams at night can accomplish the same task.
Electric and hybrid vehicles do not make a noise audible to pedestrians at low speed.
Many pedestrians might not be aware of their proximity, especially in confined spaces such as parking lots.
(There will likely be legislation mandating that these types of vehicles make some sort of noise in the near future, in order to warn pedestrians of their whereabouts.)
Given that some pedestrians will be very unlikely to follow even the most basic safety regulations, it is up to drivers to take their own protective measures, for both themselves and pedestrians.
Here are some suggestions for drivers.
Always come to a complete stop before making a right turn at an intersection with a stop sign or a red light.
The split second it takes to do this will allow for an additional look to the right before turning.
Most drivers will move forward while looking left at an intersection and miss seeing the pedestrian close to the road on the right side.
Ninety per cent of drivers do not come to a full stop when unobstructed at a stop sign or when making a right turn on a red light.
Go through intersections with another vehicle between yourself and pedestrian cross-traffic.
Use this vehicle to run interference or be a blocker, adding an addition degree of separation.
Look at the feet of the pedestrians. They will point to the intended direction of travel.
Always get eye-to-eye communication.
Stop before the crosswalk, in a position that makes the far solid white pedestrian crosswalk line visible to a driver.
Always tap the horn twice prior to backing up. Tap it three times while stopped at an intersection where odd pedestrian behaviour is evident.
It might very well provide a wake-up call to distracted pedestrians.
A legal crosswalk, whether marked or unmarked, is defined by the natural path of a pedestrian across the street at an intersection.
Drivers must stop if a pedestrian shows intent to cross the road at such a location.
In certain situations involving pedestrians, it is a good idea for a driver to do a hand signal.
It will discourage other drivers from passing at a crosswalk, when occupied by a person crossing the road.
We drivers are often frustrated by the foolish behaviour of some pedestrians.
They are equally affected by the bully-like behaviour of some drivers.
When vehicles and pedestrians collide, pedestrians are the losers.
Being mindful of this fact should give pause to both groups.