It prompted a considerable number of posts on her blog as to why Vancouver is such a dangerous city for pedestrians. I have a few thoughts, based in part on my travels around the world. I posted the following comment on her blog, but thought it might be worth repeating here, especially if it can get the attention of someone from ICBC and the local police.
I am astounded at the number of times I see people trying to cross at pedestrian crosswalks, while cars zip by without even thinking about stopping.
Often, when one car stops, (whether at a cross-walk or mid-block) the others do not. Unfortunately, I don’t think we can rely on human decency to address this problem. We need a public campaign and stiff fines to help people get the message.
I think the situation at many major intersections is now so serious that we should consider banning the right to make a right turn on a red light.
We should also consider copying what they do in Auckland and other cities, (and what we used to do in Vancouver) and stop vehicular traffic in all directions so that pedestrians have the right of way at the intersection…they can even cross on the diagonal.
While it would probably be beneficial to subject motorists to regular retesting of their drivers’ licenses, I realize this would be a challenge to implement. However, ICBC and the police could initiate a ‘continuing education’ program for motorists and pedestrians with full page ads in newspapers, and on-line quiz’s.
I am the first to admit I don’t always understand the respective rights of pedestrians and motorists, especially at some intersections with flashing lights, and some of the new roundabout configurations.
Finally, we need to change the driving culture in the cities and province. For one thing, anyone who drives into an intersection when the light is changing, and gets stuck in the intersection should be pulled out of their car and publicly assaulted. Ok, maybe that’s going too far. But let’s do what they do in many UK cities and fine that person an obscene amount of money for ‘entering the box’.
I would also like to see us implement regulations similar to those in Australia, where you are fined for passing ‘on the right’. (Well, it’s on the left in Australia, but you hopefully know what I mean.)
Yes Virginia, you are not allowed to pass in the curb lane. We all do it, of course, myself included. But I don’t even know if it is against the law here. It is in many parts of Australia. By promoting and enforcing such a rule, we might be able to help reduce some traffic fatalities.
I would also like to see us mark dangerous intersections as they do in some jurisdictions. A bright yellow sign with some red zig-zags and exclamation marks should help some people get the message.
Hopefully someone from ICBC will let us know if any of the ideas posted on this blog make sense. And if they do, let’s see some changes.
BTW, the situation in China and Vietnam and many other countries is much more dangerous. But we can’t do much about those places. We can do something about Metro Vancouver.