To the editor,
"If you can't see the driver, the driver can't see you." These words were accompanied by what looked like a shot of a telephone pole on a street corner, until a little girl's face popped out from behind it, smiling at the camera.
That television public service announcement was a component of a crosswalk safety campaign when I was growing up in Calgary many years ago. It has always stayed with me. When I cross a street, I make sure I make eye contact with drivers in every lane as I make my way across so I can be assured that they are aware of me, and when I am the driver I make eye contact with pedestrians so they know I see them and it is safe to cross.
I've lived in Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal before moving to Halifax, and I find that pedestrian behaviour here is very high on the risk scale. Yes, vehicles are supposed to stop when you're in a crosswalk. However, the combination of inattentiveness, speed or just plain rudeness on the part of drivers, along with a lack of defensive awareness on the part of pedestrians, too frequently results in another avoidable tragedy.
Don't rely on the protective magic of white lines or overhead signals for pedestrian safety. Make eye contact. If you can't see the driver, the driver can't see you.
By Eva MacGregor