There was an interesting post on Twitter this week showing drivers interacting with pedestrians at the intersection of Cambie Street and West Broadway in Vancouver. The photo showed 3 cars facing a green light trying to turn onto Cambie from Broadway, 2 eastbound turning left and one westbound turning right into their respective lanes on Broadway. There was a steady stream of pedestrians crossing Cambie against a red don’t walk signal.
Judging from the circumstances, some of the pedestrians had started to cross against the signal.
Two of the cars had stopped at the edge of the marked crosswalk but one driver was doing their best to force their way through the pedestrians and was almost completely within the crosswalk.
There is so much wrong with the situation that it is difficult to know where to start!
Perhaps the most important point to begin with is the driver’s duty to not collide with pedestrians, regardless of the fact that the pedestrians may not be following the rules themselves. Forcing your vehicle through the flow of pedestrians in the crosswalk is a clear violation of this duty.
Next, a green light does not automatically grant a driver permission to enter the intersection. There are situations when the driver must yield to other traffic before starting to move. While the section does say “…must yield the right of way to pedestrians lawfully in the intersection or in an adjacent crosswalk at the time the green light is exhibited,” we still have to consider the duty mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Finally, drivers are not supposed to block the intersection. You should not start into the intersection unless you have a reasonable belief that you can complete your intended movement without impeding other traffic.
These pedestrians are regulated by the walk / don’t walk signals at the intersection. You must not step off of the curb unless the white pedestrian signal is lit. Both the solid and the flashing red hand signals mean that you have to wait for the next cycle. Also, contrary to what some believe, the countdown timer (if the signals are so equipped) does not mean that you have the number of seconds shown to get across.
I’ll close with the observation that courtesy doesn’t seem to be a concept included in the use of our streets and highways these days. Me First! is often the attitude shown to others. A little consideration could go a long way to reducing both our crash and insurance rates. We would also arrive at our destination in a better frame of mind.
Constable Tim Schewe (Retired)DriveSmartBC: Where better than average drivers satisfy their curiosity.