Pedestrians encouraged to be seen in crosswalks

By Vanessa Ybarra
November 21, 2016 - 12:47pm Updated: November 21, 2016 - 6:30pm

KAMLOOPS — With the weather getting colder and days getting shorter,  Kamloops RCMP gathered with ICBC, community policing volunteers, and BC Transportation Minister Todd Stone Monday morning to promote pedestrian safety.

"We typically see about 230 pedestrians injured in the Southern Interior every year and that's far too many," says Stone. "So we really need to work together to bring that number down."

Wearing bright yellow reflective vests, Stone and the rest of the team handed out safety reflectors to pedestrians at the busy intersection of Columbia and Victoria Avenue in downtown Kamloops.

The day's event is part of a province-wide safety campaign. 

Every year ICBC says it seeks a spike in pedestrian-related accidents come fall and winter. 

Darker, drearier weather may play a large part, but officials say cell phones are also to blame.

"We know distracted driving is an issue," adds Ingrid Brokop, Road Safety Coordinator for ICBC. "We also know pedestrians are distracted by iPhones as well. So we ask that pedestrians be accountable for their own safety to a certain degree." 

Earlier this year Vancouver City Hall toyed with the idea of banning people from using cellphones in crosswalks. 

In Kamloops, advocates say proper outerwear remains the best defence.
"Be seen. Wear a reflector,"says Brokop. "If you're walking your dog get a reflective leash or collar."

This year's campaign may focus on pedestrians, but avid walkers like Emma Fowler say drivers also need to wake up.

"They're impatient. That's the best way to say it."

Fowler says she's had a few close calls herself in the last few years. 

Still, texting and walking with your head down remains a common site on streets. 

Stone says with pedestrian-related crashes consistently remaining above 200 a year in southern B.C, they will continue to push the message of the dangers of the dark. 

"There are events like this taking place throughout the next few weeks across the province. We all have a responsibility to be aware."

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