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Senior Pedestrian Deaths Prompt Call for Heightened Awareness

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Burnaby, British Columbia – Following the deaths of two senior pedestrians this week, the B.C. Traffic Safety Foundation will make reflective wrist bands available to seniors 65 and older, free of charge, to increase the visibility and safety of seniors during these dark, winter nights.

“Unfortunately, seniors are seriously over-represented in pedestrian fatalities,” said Allan Lamb, Executive Director, BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation, pointing to stats showing that 32 of the 74 pedestrians killed in B.C. in 2003 were seniors aged 65 and over. “We’re convinced that most, if not all, pedestrian deaths can be avoided through better driver awareness, and pedestrians being more aware of their surroundings and visibility.”

The BCAA offers these tips for seniors:

  • Make sure other road users can see you. Wear white or light-colored clothing.
  • Consider wearing clothing that has reflective material on it.
  • Make sure you can see where you’re going. If you are walking in an unlit or poorly lit area, consider carrying a flashlight.
  • Walk at times that are safer. Pick daylight hours if you can and wait until ice or snow have been cleared.
  • Use paths and sidewalks whenever they are available. If you must walk on the road, walk facing the oncoming traffic so you can see what’s coming and stay as close to the side of the road as you can.
  • Cross at crosswalks whenever possible and remember to activate the crossing signal if one is present. At the same time, don’t rely on traffic signals. You can’t assume that drivers will stop. Drivers who aren’t paying attention may not see the crosswalk sign or signal and they may not see you, either.
  • Establish eye contact with the driver. That way you will know that the driver sees you.
  • Allow plenty of time to cross the street. You may not be as fast as you once were, so make sure you have enough time to cross.
  • Be alert in parking lots. Drivers backing out of a parking stall may have difficulty seeing you.

If you’re a driver:

  • Scan for pedestrians, especially in low-light conditions. Obey speed limits and pay particular attention near crosswalks, intersections, school zones, and playgrounds and residential areas.
  • When turning through an intersection, shoulder checks in both directions and scan the intersection before turning.
  • When backing out of a parking spot, look behind and around you, and when it is clear, back out slowly.

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