Pedestrian safety is something everyone needs to learn. We start by teaching our children to look both ways when crossing the street. We even have them walk with their arm out, indicating their desire to cross. What many fail to realize is that as a pedestrian, a person becomes part of the traffic. This means one needs to be aware and know how to follow the rules of the road. The flow of traffic may be moving like it does when a person crosses the street, but the right or left turning vehicles may actually have flashing green arrows indicating their right of way to turn. The drivers, even though they have the right of way, should know to look for pedestrians. However, at the end of a long day or on the way to a meeting, that flashing green arrow is like winning a small lottery. The driver of the car knows that this means he or she can proceed unimpeded. Often they aren’t even looking for pedestrians or they give the pedestrian a bit too much credit and thinking they will stay put until the walk signal.
On the other hand a pedestrian crossing at a point where he or she has the right of way can still incur danger. The simple reality is that a person has never won a fight with a car. Pedestrians, for their own safety, can’t rely on right-of -way alone. They must look directly at the approaching vehicle and determine for certain whether or not the driver is planning to stop. When crossing a multi-lane road way as the pedestrian passes the one vehicle that is stopped he must look down the lane to see if approaching vehicles are going to stop as well.
In Edmonton in 2012 a driver, stopped at a side street, observed a vehicle speeding toward a crosswalk. His instinct was to protect the four children in the crosswalk. As the vehicle neared the intersection, the man pulled his hummer into the lane of traffic, causing a collision but, at the same time, saving the children in the crosswalk. For his efforts, the driver was awarded a medal of bravery.
In 2014 there 45 pedestrian deaths and 1245 pedestrian injuries in Alberta. All of these could have been prevented if the drivers and the pedestrians would have been aware of their surroundings and paid attention to one another.