An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
ONE WONDERS WHETHER people will ever learn about safety in crosswalks.
A 54-year-old woman was hit and killed by a truck at the intersection of McGill Road and University Way on Friday night.
Details provided by RCMP are so sketchy that the incident provides only a general reminder of what can go terribly wrong between vehicles and pedestrians.
We don’t even know for sure if this particular accident happened inside a crosswalk or whether the driver or the pedestrian was more the cause. We do know it happened after dark, when artificial lighting can make it hard to see.
There are far too many copy-and-paste headlines that read, “Pedestrian struck by vehicle in crosswalk.”
We all know safety in crosswalks is a joint responsibility between driver and pedestrian, especially at night. Pedestrians have to make sure they’re visible and that they have the walk light in their favour.
Drivers, on the other hand, have a duty to be especially careful at crosswalks, and even more careful if they’re turning at an intersection.
We know these things, and yet, people keep getting killed.
I heard an interesting interview recently about the “See Bike Say Bike” phenomenon. Basically, the theory goes, drivers at an intersection might see a motorcycle coming from a cross direction but forget it by the time they get to the point of collision. Scientists suspect the brain simply shuffles the bike into the background amidst all of the distractions of the road that over-write it.
By saying “Bike” out loud, the driver can help his or her brain remember it’s there.
I’d love to see a similar study carried out on driver-pedestrian interactions. Maybe it has relevance, maybe not, but something’s got to be done.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He writes five commentaries a week for CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.