Posted by: VPSN | February 8, 2012

City launches road safety program: Aim to reduce preventable road collisions, injuries and fatalities

(Press release from the City of Vancouver)

City launches road safety program: Aim to reduce preventable road collisions, injuries and fatalities

The City of Vancouver today launched People are Fragile, a new safety awareness program to raise the profile of some common yet inconsiderate, risky and illegal behaviours that can cause serious harm to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

The program is designed to raise awareness about road safety and ultimately prevent collisions, injuries and fatalities for all road users. The program, which uses outdoor advertising, sidewalk writing, social media and other tactics, addresses three key behaviours in and around intersections that put people at risk:

  • pedestrians jaywalking;
  • cyclists running stop signs; and,
  • motorists failing to yield to pedestrians in both marked and unmarked crosswalks.

The City intends to continuously improve the safety of Vancouver’s streets, particularly around intersections where the majority of conflicts occur between pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles.

The People are Fragile program builds on many City-led initiatives that have made our streets safer and more enjoyable for all users. Recent steps to make Vancouver streets safer include implementing pedestrian countdown timers at high-risk intersections, separated bike lanes on major cycling routes, and installing 43 new intersection safety cameras.

“While we’ve made many changes to improve the safety of our streets, we need to do more. Even one fatality is too many,” says Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. “We urge all Vancouverites to remember that people are fragile and we all need to practice courtesy, be aware of our surroundings, and follow the rules of the road, especially around intersections. The responsibility for safer streets belongs to everyone.”

Every day, inconsiderate, risky and illegal behaviour continues to contribute to unsafe situations on city streets. According to the Vancouver Police Department’s 2006-2011 collision data, an average of 18 road users are killed in traffic collisions each year in Vancouver. Of those fatalities, 56 per cent occur at intersections.

“These dangerous behaviours can have tragic but often totally preventable consequences, especially for pedestrians who are the most vulnerable and most at risk of being injured and killed,” said Staff Sergeant Earl Andersen with the Vancouver Police Department Traffic Section.

According to the Vancouver Police Department’s 2006-2011 collision data, 61 pedestrians were killed in collisions:

  • 13 were jaywalking;
  • 21 were struck by drivers not yielding at intersections; and,
  • the remaining 27 fatalities resulted from a combination of pedestrian and driver error, confusion and inattention, and poor weather.

In addition, during the same period, five cyclists, 19 drivers, 11 passengers and 12 motorcyclists were killed in collisions.

“The City of Vancouver’s People Are Fragile program complements the awareness-building that ICBC does every year through our road safety campaigns,” said ICBC’s Director of Road Safety Fiona Temple. “Each one of us can play an active role by making smart decisions ― whether we’re driving, cycling or walking. Be alert, safe and use caution.”

“Every day, our health professionals treat largely preventable injuries from motor vehicle collisions. We support the People are Fragile program and other City-led initiatives aimed not only at preventing injury and death, but also at helping Vancouver become a healthier city,” said Dr. Patricia Daly, Vancouver Coastal Health Chief Medical Health Officer.

People are fragile, they are not invincible. Don’t let inconsiderate, risky, and illegal behaviour in the roadway put yourself and others at risk. Always yield to pedestrians at intersections, stop at stop signs, and cross at intersections.

To learn more about what you can do to be safe on city streets, visit the People are Fragile website

Editor’s note: Video of the three target behaviours can be downloaded on the City’s YouTube channel or by contacting the City’s media line at the contacts below. A detailed statistical backgrounder is available online in City’s media room:


Media Contacts:
City of Vancouver
Corporate Communications

Vancouver Police Department
Constable Lindsey Houghton, Media Relations Officer
Community & Public Affairs Section

Kim Thé, Senior Communications Specialist

Vancouver Coastal Health
Trudi Beutel, Public Affairs Officer


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