A few years ago, as a front line RCMP officer working in Newfoundland, I was called to the scene of a collision between a passenger car and a pedestrian. It was a beautiful fall night, the air was crisp and cool, and the night sky was dark. The pedestrian, a middle aged gentleman, had been crossing at an intersection, so he had the right of way. But, it was in a more rural part of the town, and there was no lighting. He was wearing a navy blue sweatshirt and dark jeans. He ended his walk that night in the hospital- pretty banged up with a broken leg.

The driver who struck him was so distraught that I had to get a loved one to come drive her home. She had been making a right hand turn, and hadn’t seen him at all. It was a collision that changed the course of two peoples lives.

Why am I telling this story? Because fall is here. The mornings are darker, the evenings come quicker, and it’s time for a reminder about pedestrian safety.

According to ICBC, nearly half (45 per cent) of all crashes with pedestrians happen between October and January, and 78% of crashes in the province, involving pedestrians, happen at intersections.

Fortunately, there are some simple ways that pedestrians can make themselves safer while they are out enjoying our beautiful part of the world:

  • Be bright. Wear light coloured, reflective or lit clothing whenever possible;
  • Obey the rules. Cross at crosswalks and follow pedestrian signs and traffic signals;
  • Pay attention. Put your devices down, make eye contact with drivers and watch for vehicles;
  • Walk against traffic. Especially if there’s no sidewalk, always make sure you’re walking towards oncoming traffic.

These precautions can help to ensure that your morning commute or evening walk doesn’t turn into a life altering or potentially tragic collision.

For more information about pedestrian safety, please visit ICBC .