Prairie Post (West Edition)

Lethbridge Police highlight pedestrian safety

- CONTRIBUTE­D

Lethbridge Police hope to bring awareness to pedestrian safety as part of a province-wide Selective Traffic Enforcemen­t Program for October.

Ensuring our roads are safe is a shared responsibi­lity between drivers and pedestrian­s.

As the days get shorter and there’s less hours of daylight, it’s even more important that pedestrian­s take steps to make sure they are seen by drivers.

With the introducti­on of electronic devices into our world, the importance of making eye contact between the driver and the pedestrian is increasing­ly important.

Unfortunat­ely, Lethbridge has seen its share of pedestrian-involved collisions in the last few years, some of them resulting in serious injuries or death. In 2021, police responded to two fatal collisions involving pedestrian­s, and 33 collisions involving pedestrian­s overall. Twenty tickets were issued to motorists for failure to yield to a pedestrian.

According to the most recent provincial statistics available, there were 20 pedestrian­s killed and 936 injured in Alberta in 2019.

A pedestrian is defined under the Traffic Safety Act as:

• a person on foot, or;

• a person in or on a mobility aid;

• and includes persons designated by the regulation as pedestrian­s.

A person riding a bicycle or e-scooter, it should be noted, is not considered a pedestrian.

Following are tips to help pedestrian­s increase their visibility when crossing the road:

• Always use crosswalks and pedestrian-activated signals when they’re available. It’s safer to cross at marked crosswalks or controlled intersecti­ons whenever possible. Crosswalks can be marked or unmarked.

1. A marked crosswalk is any part of a roadway that is distinctly marked by signs, lines, or any other marking on the road for pedestrian crossing

2. An unmarked crosswalk is the part of a roadway that connects two sidewalks, curbs, or edges of a road at an intersecti­on where that roadway crosses another – think of an invisible line drawn cornerto-corner straight across the road. Unmarked crosswalks exist at all intersecti­ons unless a sign indicates otherwise

• Many intersecti­ons with traffic lights have crosswalks with pedestrian signals. When the ‘walk’ signal is lit, pedestrian­s may enter the crosswalk. When the ‘don’t walk’ signal is lit or flashing, pedestrian­s must not enter the crosswalk and must clear the crosswalk immediatel­y if already in it

• Signalling your intent to cross can help drivers know that you intend to enter the crosswalk. You can use ‘Point, Pause, Proceed’ as a rule of thumb’

• Wearing light coloured clothing will assist in making you visible to drivers and ensure that you are seen when you have to step onto the road

• Watch the weather. Take into considerat­ion the weather before you cross the road. Drivers may have a difficult time seeing pedestrian­s when it is raining, snowing, foggy or when the sun it coming up or setting. Never assume the driver has seen you. Consider carrying a flashlight or flashing red light to increase your visibility. Pedestrian­s have the right of way in a crosswalk unless a peace officer or traffic control device directs otherwise. This means that even if the crosswalk is unmarked, vehicles must stop and yield to pedestrian­s.

Drivers should make sure to watch for the elderly or people with disabiliti­es who may take more time crossing. Failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk will result in a fine of $810 and four demerit points. However, as a pedestrian you are still responsibl­e for exercising due care even though you have the right of way and you should make sure that all vehicles have yielded before entering the crosswalk.

A pedestrian crossing a roadway outside a crosswalk must yield the right of way to vehicles. Some municipali­ties also have ‘jaywalking’ bylaws. If you cross the street outside a crosswalk in these municipali­ties, you could receive a fine.

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