“As a pedestrian in Vancouver I am feeling increasingly at risk.” says a visitor to the DriveSmartBC web site. “Drivers want to maneuver behind pedestrians as soon as they can. What is the law about proceeding when the pedestrian is still on the street?”
This question has two answers, depending if the pedestrian is at an intersection with or without operational traffic lights.
If the scenario takes place at an intersection with traffic lights, a driver must yield to pedestrians crossing lawfully and then may proceed as soon as it is safe to do so. Drivers must always exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian on the highway. In this situation, it would be wise for the driver to consider how closely they would appreciate vehicles to pass by them if the positions were reversed.
If this takes place at an intersection with no traffic lights or where the traffic lights are not in operation, a driver must not travel on the half of the highway occupied by the pedestrian or where the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the other half of the highway that the pedestrian would be in danger.
Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible of conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.