By Jordan W. Charness
Montreal, Quebec – There is one great equalizer in life. It is something that we all share no matter our height, weight, or language preference. Thanks to the automobile, at one time or another we are all part of that great class of people that we call pedestrians. Anyone who lives near any type of road will eventually leave the comfort of a car or bus and share the road while on foot.
It’s not even a fair contest. A car weighs half a metric ton while we people weigh around a hundred kilos (some more, some less). In any confrontation between a car and a person, the person is sure to lose. Almost 4,000 pedestrians are hit by vehicles on Quebec roads every year. Over 100 of them die of their injuries.
Here are some frightening statistics: it is estimated that one pedestrian is hit every two to three hours. Most of those who die from their injuries are over the age of 55 or are children between the ages of five and nine. In 70 per cent of accidents, it is the pedestrian’s fault and not that of the driver. The major factors are the pedestrian failing to pay attention, or being distracted or negligent.
There are three particularly stupid things that we all tend to do, or at least have done at one time or another. Drivers do not have x-ray vision, so don’t expect them to see you if you decide to pop out into the street from between two parked cars. The only safe place to cross is at an intersection or crosswalk.
Dumb mistake number two is to walk in the road in the same direction as the traffic. Obviously, if there is a sidewalk, that’s the place for you to be. But if there is no sidewalk then make sure you walk facing oncoming traffic. That way you are not just counting on the driver to avoid you but you have an active say on whether or not you will become part of the statistics. If you are walking on the sidewalk, you may face any direction you please.