Too many pedestrians and motorists aren’t following basic traffic and safety rules, concludes the Northern Brain Injury Association after conducting a survey here last fall.
And topping the list is distraction, the association found.
Volunteers recorded observations on local streets for six hours spread out over Sept. 9-11, 2014, watching motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.
Of the total pedestrians observed, just 15 were found to be aware of their own safety.
“Sadly though, despite all the recent media coverage about increasing pedestrian injury and death rates in B.C., nine pedestrians used jaywalking as their preferred means of crossing a roadway,” the survey found.
“Nineteen people did not bother to look in both directions before stepping into the path of traffic and 21 did not use crosswalks in the proper way.”
“But, a number that absolutely horrifies, is 30 pedestrians were distracted by a device or activity while crossing a roadway, and were oblivious to approaching danger.”
Volunteers were happier with motorists, saying that of 2,521 drivers observed, 2,049 did all the right things.
Yet, in what the association called “the scariest statistic of all,” 76 vehicle operators “intentionally drove while distracted, putting themselves and innocent people in Terrace at extreme risk of injury or death.”
Of the drivers observed, 17 were not wearing seatbelts and one person did not have a child in a restraint.
Observers also found that 378 drivers “openly violated provincial motor vehicle laws although no examples were provided.
Distraction was not a factor for cyclists, but of 61 observed, 44 were not wearing helmets despite a law requiring head protection.
That put themselves at the “unnecessary risk of a catastrophic life-changing injury,” said the association.
Stop signs were ignored by 27 cyclists and 18 road against traffic, on sidewalks or through intersections.
Association volunteers also conducted surveys in Burns Lake, Quesnel, Mackenzie and Prince George. The surveys are conducted each year.
“Our goal is to reveal the actual number of people in communities, that we observed, whose actions put themselves and others at extreme risk of injury or death in northern British Columbia,” the association states. It defines distracted driving as any activity other than operating a motor vehicle and for pedestrians, distraction as using a device or involvement in an activity while crossing a roadway.
With the survey now complete, copies have been sent to northern authorities.
regional and local governments, RCMP detachments and ICBC, says Will Lewis of the Northern Brain Injury Association.
“Our hope is that people become more aware of the preventable dangers that other road users consciously present, and begin to combine defense with offence to unsafe drivers,” said Lewis.