EDITORIAL: Shared safety

Pedestrians and cyclists in Parskville Qualicum Beach have responsibilities on our roadways too

The standard rule of the road is pedestrians have the right of way, and all drivers should be on the alert for both walkers and cyclists.

With the sunlight hours diminishing, we have to say both walkers and cyclists carry some responsibility for their own safety, too.

We have noticed — darn near mowed them down — people walking their dogs or out for a stroll in the dark lately, without any kind of reflective clothing. When we come close to hitting them, they yell at us and wave the one-finger salute.

Vancouver Police Department statistics show 19 pedestrians were killed on that city’s streets in 2012. That’s more deaths than those killed as cyclists, drivers, passengers and motorcyclists combined.

Yes, Vancouver is very different than Parksville Qualicum Beach. The sheer number of both drivers and pedestrians alone might make one believe this is not a fair comparison and that simple math will tell you the instances of pedestrian deaths are going to be way higher in a metropolis like Vancouver than here.

Fair enough. But there are also many more sidewalks and a lot more street lights in Vancouver than there are in Parskville Qualicum Beach.

Comparisons aside, we are pleading today for pedestrians in our region to pay more attention to what they wear, along with the location and time of day they are out walking or running.

It’s irresponsible and dangerous to just leave the house in dark clothing and figure it’s all on the drivers.

At the risk of being too dramatic, we ask you all to consider a ghastly scenario where a walker, in dark clothing, is clipped and killed by a driver in our part of the world. The walker is dead and his friends and family face painful feelings, perhaps forever. The driver, too, may never wash away the horror and guilt of the accident, regardless of fault.

Yes, drivers must always be aware of their surroundings and look for pedestrians and cyclists. Today, we also plead with those using our roadways without a vehicle to pay better attention to what they are wearing and what side of the street they are walking (facing traffic if no sidewalks). If you are riding a bike, wear reflective clothing, cycle on the proper side of the road (with traffic), stay off the sidewalks and for goodness sake, put on a helmet.

— Editorial by John Harding