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McComb Witten Marcoux

Carnage on our Crosswalks

Jeffrey S. Witten, B.A., LL.B.
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Personal Injury Lawyer at McComb Witten Marcoux

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I’ve been writing a lot about pedestrian safety recently.

And I’ll tell you why.

Someone needs to stand up and fight for the rights of Vancouver’s pedestrians. And it looks like that someone is me.

A letter to the editor in today’s Province provides some very interesting insights into the plight of pedestrians on Vancouver’s streets. http://www.theprovince.com/news/Wednesday+March+Pedestrians+need+advocate/9606056/story.html

The letter unearths a frightful statistic from a 2012 study, which indicates that 42% of the pedestrians injured in Vancouver were hit while in a marked crosswalk.

42% - that’s a MONSTER figure.

Here’s the thing, crosswalks are a place where Vancouver’s pedestrians should feel safe. Not a place where they’re a prime target to get struck!

You see it everywhere in Vancouver.

Drivers speeding through a crosswalk like they’re in the Indy 500, ignoring the obvious risk to pedestrians in the process.

And where does it get them?

Trapped at the next red light? Stuck behind the next line of traffic? Is it really worth the risk in order to get where you’re going a couple of seconds quicker?

It’s not just reckless drivers that pedestrians need to be worried about either. Our city’s crosswalks are also playing a part in the staggering number of people getting mown down by motorists.


The reader’s letter references a very interesting study out of Toronto, which proves that countdown signals are responsible for a marked increase in pedestrian collisions and fatalities. (http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/early/2013/09/23/injuryprev-2012-040717.abstract?sid=776fe14c-c160-4b19-8d81-82f47f7f3963)

These countdown signals are the timers you’ll find at crosswalks across the city. They were supposed to be the next big thing in public safety. A magic bullet for reducing pedestrian injuries that have been installed on streets across the country.

The idea was that with more information available, pedestrians would know it’s safe to cross and when it’s not. 

But it’s clear they’re not working.

The simple truth is that instead of helping pedestrians, countdown signals are actually putting them in harm’s way.

Once again it’s down to negligent motorists who are more interested in speeding up to “Beat the clock” than driving safely.  

With so many pedestrians getting mown down you’d have thought the province would be doing something to stop the carnage on our crosswalks.

They’re not.

You’ve got to ask yourself why they’re not taking this deadly matter more seriously?

Could it be that ICBC, a crown corporation from which the provincial government strips millions upon millions of bucks every year has a vested interest in maintaining the “public perception” that pedestrians are to blame when they get hurt?

Could it be that they’re more focussed on the bottom line, on thwarting pedestrians’ compensation claims than they are protecting the public’s safety?  

I’m just sayin’…

Category: Pedestrian Accidents

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