If you’re from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, August 9, 2017 might be engrained in your memory. On that fateful day, two resident geese were killed by a vehicle while crossing the street near their home at Sullivan’s Pond. These geese had become somewhat of a legend in Dartmouth and were considered community mascots by many. Understandably, Dartmouth residents were upset by their deaths.
The outpouring of anger against the offending driver (who was found not at fault for the incident) was swift and harsh---with some calling for vigilantism. For anyone outside of the city, the reaction to the death of the geese might have seemed, well, a little over the top. It’s fair to say that much of the online comments and discussion went too far. That said, there are good reasons for Dartmouth residents to be angry about a crosswalk accident --- 225 of them to be exact. This is the number of vehicle/ pedestrian accidents that occurred throughout Halifax Regional Municipality in 2017. Most of these incidents (68%) occurred within crosswalks. That, I suggest, is something worth talking about on twitter. So, on the anniversary of their deaths, lets pay tribute to the Sullivan’s Pond Geese (R.I.P) by revisiting a few crosswalk safety tips for drivers, pedestrians and well, geese:
- Tips for Pedestrians
- Make sure when you approach a crosswalk that you stop, look left and right, and wait for the WALK signal or push button to turn on overhead flashing lights if available.
- Make sure that you continue to keep an eye out for oncoming vehicles once you have entered the crosswalk, especially turning vehicles.
- Make sure that cars are planning on stopping. Not all drivers obey or see traffic signals.
- It is always a good idea when possible to make eye contact with the drivers and wait for them to stop.
- If a red flashing hand comes up before you enter the crosswalk, do not try to rush across. If the light turns red while you are in the crosswalk, you may finish crossing.
- If one car has stopped, make sure to look around that car before crossing further into the crosswalk. Cars may attempt to pass and may not see the pedestrian trying to cross.
2. Tips for Drivers
- Come to a complete stop at least 10 metres before a crosswalk.
- Be alert for children – they can often dart out into traffic without waiting for the appropriate traffic signal or for cars to come to a complete stop.
- Wait until pedestrians have crossed the street completely before proceeding.
- Never pass stopped or slowed vehicles at crosswalks. Take extra care on multi-lane roads. Passing a vehicle that has stopped at the crosswalk is an offence under the Motor Vehicle Act.
- Slow down – studies have shown that if a car hits a pedestrian at 60km/h, there is a 93% chance of fatality. At 50km/h, that chance of pedestrian fatality is reduced to about 73% and if speed is reduced to 30km/h, there is a 5% chance of fatality.
*The subject of pedestrian/vehicle collisions is a serious one. Unfortunately, these collisions often result in serious injuries or death.
Take time to remind yourself and your loved ones of these safety tips. For more information and tips look to the “Heads up Halifax” campaign. Last, if you or someone you know is involved in a pedestrian/ vehicle accident, speak to a lawyer who can protect your rights