Clearly dark intersections and narrow streets in Nelson are a problem. Drivers are aware of it and it should be pretty obvious to pedestrians. So why do police and ambulance crews continue to attend accidents where people are getting hit by cars?
The last month has been particularly bad for accidents involving pedestrians. Two very serious accidents sent those struck to hospital and their recovery is going to be long.
So what needs to be done? Both Nelson’s geography and weather conditions make these types of accidents inevitable unless steps are taken by both the public and community leaders.
1) Much of the responsibility has to fall to drivers. Operating a vehicle is tricky and often stressful. It seems like far too many people are in a hurry and when that happens, we are not as attentive as we need to be. The solution is simple: slow down and relax. The extra 15 seconds you are saving by not paying attention could change your life. The thought of killing or seriously injuring somebody can’t be worth the time you save behind the wheel.
2) Pedestrians themselves need to shoulder some of the responsibility. Flesh and bone is no match for chrome and steel. When you walk across streets, you must always be extra aware. When rain, snow and darkness enter the picture, your senses need to be even more heightened. Though motorists should be in control, don’t assume they are.
3) The City of Nelson and provincial government need to do a better job at identifying trouble spots and put measures in place to protect both driver and pedestrian. Pedestrian beacons at notorious crosswalks — like in front of Safeway and at Vernon/Stanley — would be a good start. Leaders also need to identify other dark areas of the community more prone to incidents and close calls.
Accidents happen, that’s why we call them accidents. But in the case of pedestrians being hit by vehicles, there is much that can be done to prevent any further mishaps and potential tragedies.