Is it just me or has the relationship between cars and pedestrians gotten a lot more perilous in Vancouver? Just take a little stroll around town and you’ll see some pretty egregious and shocking stuff.
As someone who would most certainly like to avoid more road accidents and keep fostering a sense of respect amongst locals, I thought I’d do a quick roundup of rules that we should all keep in mind. There’s nowhere you need to get to that warrants putting your own life or someone else’s at risk.
1. U-turns: still illegal (most of the time).
Not sure when u-turns became the norm around this town, but during the last week I’ve seen two cars u-turning in the middle of major roads, totally contradicting the law (see page 52 of the ICBC drivers guide). Does finding a parking spot on West Broadway warrant the risk? I’m gonna go ahead and say no. Would it kill you to go around the block and find that same spot or another one? Probably not.
2. Yellow lights: not an invitation to become a Formula 1 racer.
A light turning yellow is an indication that you should slow down, not speed up to make it and save yourself, what, 2 whole minutes of red light?! By speeding, you don’t only risk collision with an incoming car trying to turn left but also running over a pedestrian at full speed, which I hope is something you’d like to avoid. Slow down, stop and smell the roses. I don’t know, just don’t be a crazy driver.
3. Pedestrians: they still have priority.
No crosswalk painted on the ground? No stop sign? Yield. The law is pretty unequivocal here that if a pedestrian is crossing the street properly you have to let them go first. What are you trying to prove when you bully pedestrians with your car?That you are more important? That because you’re driving you have better places to be? Come on.
4. Turning right the minute a light goes green, overtaking pedestrians wanting to cross the street.
Again, you are not the priority. Pedestrians and cyclists are.
5. Jaywalking - still not a thing!
Drivers are not the only ones in need of a refresher here. It’d be really wonderful if pedestrians could cross the street responsibly and not risk their lives. See a super cool cherry blossom-filled street and feel the need to stand in the middle of the road to take an artsy Instagram pic? Try standing on the sidewalk! You’ll take a great picture and save a life. Possibly your own.
Fellow Vancouver residents, there are lives at stake every time we do something stupid on the road, whether we’re walking or driving. There’s no reason to be this reckless. One reckless act today could bring serious consequences and we’re frankly better than that. And it can all go downhill from here if we don't pay attention. Next thing you know, we’ll all be so angry at each other and who the hell wants that? Not me. I hope you don’t either.
- Nadia Rozental