HERGOTT: Watching for pedestrians while driving

HERGOTT: Watching for pedestrians while driving

Paul Hergott is a personal injury lawyer based in West Kelowna

It took COVID girth growth to push me to a regular walking commute for the very first time in the 13 years I’ve lived walking distance from my office.

Yes, I should be ashamed.

Much of the 18 minute walk is a narrow, twisty road called McDougall. There’s no paved shoulder or sidewalk. For much of it, there’s no unpaved shoulder either, just a narrow strip of soft sand and gravel.

Walking on the narrow strip of sand and gravel is like walking along a sandy beach. Not a surface you’d choose to walk on to get from A to B in reasonably nice shoes.

I am a stickler for facing traffic as a pedestrian. Yes, it’s the law. But more than that, I have acted for pedestrian clients who have been mowed down from behind by clueless motorists.

Is it fair to call them clueless, defined as “having no knowledge, understanding, or ability”. Better would be “clued out”. Drivers can see, but not mentally process, important visual information like the existence of a pedestrian. It’s called “ inattentional blindness

By facing traffic, you have the opportunity to leap out of the way if you see a clued out motorist about to mow you down.

The “facing traffic” rule comes from section 182(2) of the Motor Vehicle Act If there’s a sidewalk, you must walk on it. But if no sidewalk “…a pedestrian walking along or on a highway must walk only on the extreme left side of the roadway or the shoulder of the highway, facing traffic approaching from the opposite direction.”

Don’t get distracted by the word “highway” Section 1 of the Act defines “highway” as including “every road, street, lane or right of way designed or intended for or used by the general public for the passage of vehicles”.

If ever there was a stretch of road where facing traffic is important, it would be McDougall.

The road is so narrow that a vehicle could not safely pass by a pedestrian without either moving over into the oncoming lane or slowing right down.

And visibility is compromised by sharp, blind curves.

Please take care not to be a clued out when behind the wheel. Please do your best to be continually mindful of the important task at hand, keeping your brain free from other unintentional (daydreaming) or intentional (cell phone discussion) cognitive load.

And please keep a sharp eye out, assuming that a pedestrian might be around every corner.

There is an overarching obligation on motorists to be careful around pedestrians. It’s a matter of common sense and moral decency! But it also comes from section 181(a) of the Act which mandates a driver to “exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian who is on the highway”.

Now for the fun part.

You’re driving along a narrow road with blind corners and no shoulder and you encounter a pedestrian on your side of the road. Do you feel a sense of entitlement, expecting the pedestrian to step off the road, into the ditch if necessary, to save you from having to slow right down to pass?

What about if you’re the pedestrian? Do feel a sense of entitlement, expecting the motorist to slow right down to pass by you, so that you can continue walking comfortably along the edge of the pavement?

Of the two, the pedestrian has the legal entitlement.

And what would be the most sensible from an etiquette standpoint? Who should accommodate the other: the person sitting comfortably in an automobile having to adjust with the push of a pedal and turn of a steering wheel, or the person commuting on foot?

I’m no longer doing the walking commute. I overdid it and have to take a break, which doesn’t bode well for a future return!

The experience helped me better consider, and hopefully articulate, ideas about motorists and pedestrians sharing the road.

Which includes a strong suggestions to pedestrians, when encountering considerate and rule following motorists, to give them a big smile and a wave with a mouthed “thank you”. The warmer motorists hold pedestrians in their hearts, the more likely they will show the careful consideration pedestrians deserve.

Missed last week’s column?

HERGOTT: Accountability of being a pet owner

About Paul Hergott, Personal Injury Lawyer:

Paul began practicing law in 1995 in a general litigation practice. Of the various areas of litigation, he became most drawn to and passionate about pursuing fair compensation for personal injury victims, which has gradually became his exclusive area of practice. Paul’s practice is restricted to acting only for the injured victim, never for ICBC nor for other insurance companies.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hergottlaw/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/personalinjurylawfirm/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hergott_law?lang=en

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/HlawCanada

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

dog attack

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Send your letter to the editor via email to news@summerlandreview.com. Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.
LETTER: Summerland affordable housing proposal opposed

“For a building that will change the dynamic of a small town, I would have expected more discussion.”

Baldy Mountain Resort is temporarily closed following the death of a resort family member. Pictured above is a sunrise at the resort, Feb. 19, 2021. (Baldy Mountain Resort/Facebook)
Baldy Mountain ski hill closed following death of resort family member

Authorities currently investigating, resort set to reopen Sunday, Feb. 27

Butter and sourdough bread is shown at a house in Vernon, B.C. on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. A Quebec dairy farmers’ group is calling on milk producers to stop feeding palm oil or its derivatives to livestock as controversy churns over how these supplements affect the consistency of butter. (THE CANADIAN PRESS - Jesse Johnston)
Poll: Care to spread your feelings on butter?

Reports of hard butter have rattled the Canadian dairy industry

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

Summerland’s municipal council will proceed with a four per cent property tax increase this year, but the deadlines for property tax payment have been extended. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland councillor’s letter to media draws disappointment from colleagues

Statements about solar project did not violate ethical or conduct standards

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

(HelloKelowna - Twitter)
West Kelowna billboard bearing anti-vaccine messaging deemed misleading

Ad Standards investigated the billboard, noting a lack of evidence to support the messaging

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Chase RCMP arrest intoxicated man running into highway traffic

The man was wanted on several warrents in Alberta; was held overnight but released

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

Most Read