Pedestrian fatalities in B.C. spike during fall and winter months. Weather and driver distraction are two contributing factors, according to ICBC. (Black Press Media file photo)

Pedestrian fatalities in B.C. spike during fall and winter months. Weather and driver distraction are two contributing factors, according to ICBC. (Black Press Media file photo)

Vancouver Island police remind drivers to use caution during rainy, dark days

Pedestrian fatalities spike in fall and winter months, 11 Islanders killed last year

With earlier sunsets and more rain in the forecast, ICBC and Vancouver Island police are asking motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to use caution on the road.

A Victoria police tweet asks drivers to take their time getting to their destination and to stay alert for pedestrians and cyclists.

In B.C., pedestrian fatalities jump during fall and winter months. According to ICBC, most pedestrian-involved crashes occur between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays between October and January.

The biggest factors in those collisions are drivers failing to yield right of way, driver distraction and weather.

“As the weather changes and daylight hours decrease, pedestrians become more vulnerable,” states ICBC. “Nearly half (45 per cent) of all crashes with pedestrians happen between October and January. Even when drivers proceed with caution, it’s hard to see pedestrians when visibility is poor.”

READ ALSO: Five pedestrians killed across Greater Victoria in the last 12 months

On Vancouver Island, 70 per cent of crashes involving pedestrians occurred at intersections. Data gathered by the B.C. government reveals that 11 pedestrians were killed on Vancouver Island in 2019.

Drivers can mitigate risks to pedestrians by focusing on the road, being prepared to yield and expecting the unexpected – such as jaywalkers. The same tenets apply to avoiding collisions with cyclists. Motorists should yield the right of way, shoulder check and scan roadways. ICBC says drivers should also maintain a three-second distance behind cyclists and at least one metre when passing.

Pedestrians can also take steps to stay safe. ICBC recommends sticking to crosswalks, making eye contact with drivers and wearing reflective clothing.

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READ ALSO: Emergency crews respond to pedestrian pinned under vehicle in Langford


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