With shorter days leading to reduced visibility during peak traffic times, pedestrians become more vulnerable. According to ICBC, nearly half of all crashes involving pedestrians occur between October and January, when daylight hours are reduced. It’s important for both pedestrians and drivers to be aware and take care when visibility is reduced.
The City’s Transportation Division is installing new equipment and technology to help enhance pedestrian safety. Rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFBs) have been installed mid-block on Tranquille Road, between Knox Street and Palm Street, as well as at the intersection of Summit Drive and Robson Drive. Both systems will be activated on Monday, December 7.
The RRFB crosswalk system is the latest, state-of-the-art technology and the first of its kind in Kamloops. RRFBs feature high-intensity, pedestrian-activated LED flashing lights that are exceptionally noticeable for drivers during both the day and at night, and are visible when headlight glare, wet roads, or other situations create difficult lighting conditions.
"Providing residents with safe walking environments is one of our objectives from the Transportation Master Plan," said Purvez Irani, the City's Transportation Manager. "The RRFB system will enhance pedestrian safety in these high-traffic corridors and we look forward to installing more throughout the City in the coming years."
The Transportation Division is also currently undertaking traffic signal optimization in the downtown core, which includes the installation of lead pedestrian intervals (LPIs) at every crosswalk. The LPIs give pedestrians a head start at signalized intersections by providing an advanced "walk" signal while the lights remain red for vehicles. This head start reduces vehicle-pedestrian conflict by enhancing the pedestrian visibility and reinforcing their right-of-way over turning vehicles. This type of signal is also the first of its kind in Kamloops and will be new to drivers and pedestrians.
While these new signals will help enhance pedestrian safety, it is imperative for both pedestrians and motorists to remain vigilant. Some tips include:
Tips for Pedestrians:
- Be visible. Wear light-colored or reflective clothing to help be seen.
- Pay attention. Put your phone away and remove your headphones when crossing an intersection.
- Don’t jaywalk. Always use crosswalks and obey pedestrian and traffic signals, especially in low visibility.
- Be aware. Pay attention in intersections—watch for drivers turning left or through crosswalks.
- Make eye contact. Never assume that a driver has seen you.
Tips for Motorists:
- Be aware. Always leave your phone and other distractions alone while driving.
- Yield. Always yield to pedestrians in crosswalks or intersections.
- Expect the unexpected. Always watch for pedestrians, even mid-block.