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LETTER: Injured pedestrian was on a crosswalk

From reader Anna Lamb-Yorski

Re: Pedestrian hit by vehicle at crosswalk, Nov. 26

To the Nelson Police Department, local media, and residents of Nelson:

This past Wednesday, there was an incident in Nelson along a crosswalk on Anderson Street (a.k.a Highway 3A) that involved a pedestrian and a driver. The pedestrian was fortunate to come out of the crash with non-life threatening injuries. But this was a close call that could have been a lot worse. A life could have been lost. (Eds note: see the story on page 2.)

We all have a role to play in ensuring safety on our roads between users. However, those who walk and cycle are at a far greater risk of severe and fatal consequences. Choosing to focus on educating the pedestrian in this instance, and failing to do the same to the driver, has cast the impression that the pedestrian was entirely at fault in this incident. Blanket statements about pedestrian and cyclist behaviour remove the humanity of the individuals, and contributes to a culture of victim-blaming.

We encourage the Nelson Police Department and local media reporting on collisions and near misses involving pedestrians and cyclists to reiterate the legal requirements for motor vehicle drivers to exercise due care and the reminder that our streets are shared spaces, all before offering safety advice to vulnerable road users. Failing to do so sends the false message that walking or cycling is unsafe, and hampers efforts to improve road safety for all.

Over the long term, we need to continue to work together to design and modify streets to better suit the safety and comfort of all users. Until we have infrastructure that eliminates these risks of collisions, we need all road users to be patient, courteous, and safe.

Anna Lamb-Yorski

President

West Kootenay Cycling Coalition