Cars drivers are often reminded to keep an eye out for pedestrians, but what should pedestrians do to protect their own safety? Texting while driving is a known threat to safety, but texting while walking can also lead to the risky behaviour which causes auto\-pedestrian accidents. Since 55 pedestrians are killed in British Columbia each year, this issue is a serious one.

A local bike rider posted on social media about a walker who, distracted by her phone, walked into a street and was nearly hit as he rode by. The pedestrian cursed the biker. The story caught the attention of a radio host with several similar experiences. The cyclists worry that the careless behaviour could have a deadly end were a car involved.

There are no laws against pedestrians in British Columbia walking while distracted. Jaywalking is the only enforcable offence in the province. While other places have taken steps to regulate smartphone distractions, Vancouver has no plans to put a bylaw or signage in place.

It is unclear whether such regulations would make people safer. Province-wide, fatalities due to auto-pedestrian accidents have remained steady despite the popularization of technology. However, fatalities of drivers, passengers and cyclists from motor vehicle accidents have all decreased during the same period.

Drivers are advised to keep an eye out for pedestrians who are not paying attention. Police will be also enforcing responsible pedestrian behaviour during the month of October. Auto-pedestrian accidents can be among the most damaging, since a pedestrian does not have any protection from the collision. Those who have been involved in such an accident should contact a British Columbia lawyer to understand their options for restitution.

Source: Vancouver Sun, “Smartphone zombies: Are distracted walkers menace they appear to be?“, Randy Shore, Aug 2, 2017