Pedestrian collisions spike in treacherous driving conditions

Police across Metro Vancouver are blaming the terrible weather for a spike in the number of collisions involving pedestrians.

Police are asking drivers and pedestrians to take extra care in dark, wet weather

Police are warning pedestrians, drivers and cyclists to take extra care when visibility is poor. (CBC)

Police across Metro Vancouver are blaming the terrible weather for a spike in the number of collisions involving pedestrians.

Between Tuesday and Wednesday morning, police were called to nearly 20 incidents involving pedestrians across the Lower Mainland.

In Vancouver alone, police say they were called to 40 vehicle collisions, including nine involving pedestrians and two involving cyclists, all in about 24 hours.

Const. Brian Montague blames the weather.

"Forty collisions is a lot. Nine pedestrians is a lot. Way more than the average...again that's most likely due to weather conditions."

Jill Blacklock with ICBC's road safety team says they see a 76 per cent increase in collisions involving pedestrians during the darkest part of the year — from November to January — and that has a lot to do with poor weather.

"Speed limits are set for ideal conditions. That's when visibility is really great and road conditions are dry," says Blacklock.

"When it's dark and it's wet and rainy, we just want to remind people to give themselves more time to get to where they're going. Slow down and give themselves more distance between them and the car in front of them."

Blacklock is also reminding drivers to take extra time when making right or left turns to make sure there are no pedestrians crossing.

The City of Vancouver says it's working to bring d the number of fatalities each year.

"The challenge is that we're still not at zero, and even one fatality is one too many," the city's director of transportation Jerry Dobrovolny told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

Dobrovolny says the city has made improvements — like brighter lighting or longer crossing times — at the 44 most dangerous intersections in Vancouver.

Keep safe, dress brightly

Vancouver Police Sgt. Randy Fincham spoke to Stephen Quinn for the CBC Radio program On The Coast on Wednesday, to offer tips for pedestrians to stay safe on the roads:

  • Only cross at a designated crosswalk or a traffic light
  • Wear bright colours
  • Chose brightly coloured or reflective accessories
  • Slow down and pay attention to what is around you

You can hear more from Sgt. Fincham by clicking the Listen icon on this story.

More rain on the way

Environment Canada is forecasting another 30 to 50 mm of rain for the Fraser Valley and near the mountains over Metro Vancouver through tonight, with lesser amounts expected away from the mountains.

Officials warn the ground is already near saturation and has little ability to absorb more rainfall, meaning flash floods, water pooling on roads and localized flooding in low-lying areas is possible.

The storm has also dumped heavy snow on the Coquihalla Highway and other areas of higher elevations across the southern Interior of B.C., creating winter driving conditions. In Kelowna residents are reporting up to 40 centimetres of snow in some areas.

Const. Ian MacDonald with Abbotsford police says when conditions worsen, drivers should consider waiting it out.

"You need to make an honest assessment of whether you should be out there at all," says MacDonald.

If you do choose to travel during the bad weather, make sure your vehicle is ready for the trip, he advises.

"This is a good time to fix faulty want to make sure sure those headlights are working, you want to make sure you have good tires on your vehicle and make sure it's mechanically sound"


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