Traffic Safety for Pedestrians

Pedestrians are considered “vulnerable road users” in the parlance of traffic safety experts, meaning they are likely to be seriously injured or killed if they are struck by a motor vehicle. Vulnerable road users, including pedestrians, motorcyclists, moped riders and bicyclists, account for almost a quarter of traffic fatalities, Transport Canada says.

The British Columbia Motor Vehicle Act provides a variety of protections and rights to pedestrians, whether they are walking or standing alongside roads or crossing them at intersections. In general, vehicles must yield to pedestrians. But pedestrians also are subject to the rules of the road, especially as they pertain to following traffic signals like stop lights and crossing signals.

Pedestrians and the BC Motor Vehicle Act

The Motor Vehicle Act defines a “pedestrian” as a person afoot or an invalid or child in a wheelchair or carriage.

Do Pedestrians Have The Right of Way in Canada?

As you might expect, BC law requires motorists to yield to pedestrians who are crossing the street in a marked crosswalk and in accordance with traffic lights. Even if the light turns green or the driver is executing a right-on-red turn, the driver of any vehicle must wait for a pedestrian rightfully in the roadway to pass.

In fact, the law repeatedly states that the pedestrian “has the right of way … over all vehicles.” This is appropriate, of course, because a driver can stop faster than a pedestrian can move out of a vehicle’s path, and in a car accident, the pedestrian is likely to be severely injured.

But the law calls for pedestrians to act safely, as well:

  • A pedestrian must not leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close it is impracticable for the driver to yield the right of way, the law says.
  • Pedestrians should not try to cross a road against a red or yellow light.
  • A pedestrian still in the roadway or on a crosswalk when the light turns green “must proceed as quickly as possible from the roadway.”
  • Pedestrians who cross a highway where there is no crosswalk must yield the right of way to a vehicle.
  • When walking along a highway, pedestrians should stay out of the roadway and use the sidewalk if there is one. If there is no sidewalk, they should walk along the left-hand side of the road to face traffic.

At the same time, the law requires motorists on the highway to:

  • Exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian who is on the highway.
  • Give warning by sounding the horn of the vehicle when necessary.
  • Observe proper precautions upon seeing a child or apparently confused or incapacitated person on the highway.

Pedestrian Accident Claims

Because of the many variables that may be present in a pedestrian accident and because pedestrians have some legal responsibility for their own safety, the ICBC may try to assign partial liability to a pedestrian who has been injured in an accident. In such cases, the injured pedestrian who does not have experienced legal help is likely to receive an inadequate settlement.

Contact Experienced Vancouver Pedestrian Accident Lawyers

If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident in Vancouver, the Klein Lawyers law firm can help you file a claim and obtain an appropriate settlement. Our lawyers have the knowledge, experience, tools, resources and access to experts necessary to prepare and pursue a solid claim on your behalf.

Contact the Klein Lawyers office today at 778-654-7060 or through our online form for a thorough assessment of your case. Your initial consultation is free, and if we can move forward, we stand by our No-Fee Guarantee: If we don’t win, you pay no fee.