Ever since the advent of pop psychology and the Me Generation, there have been labels assigned to the following generations, such as Generation X or millennials. In British Columbia, our young people are sometimes chided, in print or online, for self-centered or irresponsible behaviour. In a recent case, the quick and selfless action of a teenager saved a friend from becoming a casualty in a pedestrian accident.
Once drivers shift into gear, their mindset switches seamlessly to steering a big hunk of steel up and down motorways, with all due caution. When they step out of a car, even for a minute, they become, for all intents and purposes, pedestrians. Sometimes, they neglect to switch to the pedestrian mindset, which requires a different awareness of the vehicles circulating nearby. These were the circumstances in a recent incident in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, where an elderly driver lost his life in what was reported as a pedestrian accident.
"Trick or treat?" Children exuberantly ask this question as they appear at doorways all over North America on the last night of October. Ages ago, when the tradition began, the question harboured a veiled menace: if you don't give me a treat, I will play a trick on you! In today's British Columbia neighbourhoods, treats are automatically offered, piled high near the door. Meanwhile, the hidden menace remains, embodied in the potential of a child victim of a car accident.
The sheer force of impact in a high-speed collision is a great equalizer in vehicle damage as well as potential injury. When first responders must resort to the Jaws of Life to extricate victims of a car accident from a sports model or a luxury sedan, it puts paid to the myth that either jazzed-up or heavier cars offer protection against harm. On British Columbia roadways, however, it is a driver's skill and respect for the law that constitute the ultimate prevention against recklessness on the road.
After Canada Day on July 1, the next statutory holiday in British Columbia is Labour Day weekend. It always seems a long way off because it's one of the best times to visit friends or family or finally take that road trip with the kids in tow. Unfortunately, it's also a time when a car accident is more likely, throwing a wrench in carefully made plans and possibly giving cause for a personal injury lawsuit.
When an irresistible force meets an immovable object, it doesn't matter what time of night or day it might be. Pedestrians could be circulating on sidewalks, along city streets at any time, especially those who work night or graveyard shifts or have simply chosen to take a stroll in the fresh night air. A walking pace cannot compete with even the minimum speed of a moving vehicle and any drivers nearby, in particular at night, should strive to avoid the chances of a pedestrian accident.
Motorcycles became common sights on roadways some time after World War I. Robustly built and noisy, they fired up the imagination and recreational motorcycle clubs mushroomed across the country. Yet it is precisely motorcycles' maneuverability and compactness relative to standard vehicles that may contribute to fatal outcomes on British Columbia and other major highways. When a motorcyclist is involved in a car accident, his or her chances of avoiding life-threatening injuries or loss of life are dramatically diminished.
Driving defensively is one of the primary rules of the road in British Columbia as elsewhere. It sounds like it means that drivers must have eyes in the back of their heads when all it really calls for is being keenly aware of other drivers as well as of the road ahead. Sometimes, however, even the most conscientious driver cannot foresee the domino effect produced by just one irresponsible driver. As the first days of August set in, a car accident in Surrey played out just such an unsettling scenario, sending one victim to hospital.
Road and highway construction sites often test drivers' patience, but drivers know that the safety measures in place are there not only to protect drivers but on-site workers as well. Recently, in Burnaby, roadwork was in full swing westward along 10th Avenue when an impatient driver ignored all of the cautionary signs, pylons and signalling, and plowed into a traffic flagger. The veteran flagger was the first accident victim of the driver of the white Hyundai who continued on to hit a second traffic flagger.
A 51-year-old hit-and-run driver recently received a conditional sentence of eight months followed by probation for 18 months for knocking down a pedestrian in Jan. 2014. According to British Columbia Supreme Court documents, this pedestrian accident occurred on a morning with poor visibility when the defendant backed out of his driveway. He failed to notice a woman who was on her morning walk and struck her with his vehicle.