ICBC and the RCMP are working to raise awareness about the importance of visibility on the Vancouver Island roadways.
Representatives of each were near Sooke’s downtown roundabout and bus shelters recently to hand out reflective patches and to urge residents to be careful when they’re out walking on dark rainy nights.
‘It’s a very dangerous time of year for pedestrians and cyclists,” Colleen Woodger, road safety coordinator for ICBC, said.
ICBC statistics show that nearly half of all vehicle collisions with pedestrians happen between October and January as visibility and driving conditions worsen.
“We see a real spike in pedestrian crashes and fatalities at this time of year, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that drivers are just not seeing the pedestrians on the road,” Woodger said.
“It’s really important that pedestrians and cyclists make themselves visible through the use of reflectors, lights and even by wearing bright reflective vests and jackets.”
It was a sentiment reiterated by Staff Sgt. Brett Sinden of the Sooke RCMP.
Sinden was on hand to distribute reflectors and inform the public about the importance of being seen.
“You don’t realize, sometimes, how the dark clothing you’re wearing when you’re out for a walk can make you pretty much disappear on a dark rainy night. It’s important to wear reflective clothing and even carry a light with you to make sure that drivers can see you.”
Woodger offered a few more tips for pedestrians and drivers alike.
“Leave your phone alone when you’re walking alongside a road. And, of course, drivers should never be using their phones. It’s really important to be vigilant and aware of what’s happening around you,” Woodger said.
“At intersections, make sure you’re making eye contact.”
Statistics collected by ICBC show that an average of 370 pedestrians are injured every year. Seven of them will die of their injuries.
And the story is no better for cyclists with an average of 380 collisions and three fatalities occurring annually.