Walk Smart | Drive Smart

This October, the Alberta RCMP reminds all road users that traffic safety is a shared responsibility between motorists and pedestrians. With Pedestrian Safety Month well underway, police reiterate the importance of sharing the road to ensure your own safety and that of others.

Pedestrians are some of the most vulnerable users on Alberta roads. In 2016, there were a total of 14 fatal collisions involving pedestrians. Of those, almost half involved a pedestrian unsafely using a pedestrian crossing and 8 were intoxicated. In 2015, 50.2 per cent of drivers involved in pedestrian casualties failed to yield to the right of way to the pedestrian (Alberta Transportation, 2015).

We all have a part to play when it comes to traffic safety. Below are some safety tips to help drivers and pedestrians share the road.

Pedestrians:

  • Make sure to be visible to drivers at all times. Wear lightly coloured or reflective clothing at night and brightly coloured clothing during the day.
  • Make eye contact with drivers in stopped and approaching vehicles to ensure they see you before you cross in front of them.
  • Phones are a part of everyday life but they distract your attention and eyes from the environment around you. Put your phone away when walking or crossing.
  • Don’t wear headphones. Your ears can tell you a lot about what is happening around you.
  • Know and follow all traffic rules, signs and signals.  Being aware of the rules that vehicles must follow allows you to anticipate what drivers will do.
  • Never assume that a driver will give you the right of way.
  • Use crosswalks when crossing the street.
  • Stay on sidewalks whenever possible. If a sidewalk is not available, walk on the far side of the road facing traffic. This will help increase your visibility to drivers.
  • Avoid walking along highways or other roadways where pedestrians are prohibited.
  • Alcohol and drugs impair your decision-making skills, physical reflexes and reduces your ability to respond quickly in traffic situations.

Drivers

  • Look out for pedestrians at all times.
  • In Alberta, the fine for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk is $776 and four demerit points. The fine is the same for passing a vehicle at a crosswalk.
  • Follow posted speed limits at all times, especially in areas of heavy pedestrian traffic. This is especially important in areas with low speed limits, such as school zones and neighborhood streets.
  • Be mindful of pedestrians when pulling in and out of driveways – especially if you are backing up.
  • Always yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.
  • When approaching a crosswalk, reduce your speed and be prepared to stop.
  • Alcohol and drugs impair your reaction time, reflexes, decision-making skills and overall cognitive functions. Getting behind the wheel while impaired puts everyone in danger.