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Behind the Wheel - Jaywalking

I read the Victoria Times Colonist on line each morning and today's story about jaywalking caught my attention. After reading the story all I am left with is the feeling that the situation was poorly explained and readers were left with the impression that the police should have been doing more important things. Jaywalking is something that everyone does and it isn't a bad thing to do.

The two sections in the Motor Vehicle Act that regulate pedestrians not in a crosswalk only do so when the pedestrian has either failed to yield to vehicular traffic or stepped off the curb at a time when the driver could not yield to them even if they tried to. Both of these situations are dangerous, interrupt traffic flow and potentially result in injury or death. The adults being dealt with in this story that feel put upon definitely know better and have no room to complain.

A spokesperson for the City of Victoria says that jaywalking is allowed in that area because of an exemption to the traffic bylaw used to promote a pedestrian friendly area. What they might have said is that crossing at a place other than a crosswalk is not prohibited, but pedestrians still must yield to vehicles if they do so. Municipalities are not permitted to create bylaws that are at odds to the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act.

In 2006, which is the last year I.C.B.C. has posted collision statistics for, 1,884 collisions injured 1,971 and killed 70 people in our province. In addition, the frequency of pedestrian collisions has risen steadily from 2002 to 2006. About 40% of these collisions resulted from the pedestrian doing something that involved them in the collision rather than being the fault of the driver.

It's not reasonable to only deal with the drivers. Pedestrians must shoulder their share of the responsibility and perhaps need a refresher on how to cross the road safely.

www.drivesmartbc.ca/pedestrians/jaywalking-cross-your-own-risk

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