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Rocky road for pedestrians as drivers fail to see them

Dec 06 2012
Police investigate at a crosswalk where a pedestrian was hit Tuesday. 

Police investigate at a crosswalk where a pedestrian was hit Tuesday.

Photograph by: Adrian Lam, Times Colonist , Times Colonist

Collette Hamilton says drivers aren't paying enough attention to pedestrians on the road - and has the bruises to prove it.

"How disgusting is it that someone can hit you and just drive away?" Hamilton said. "Where are his morals? He could have killed me."

Hamilton was one of four pedestrians hit by vehicles in Victoria during a 12-hour period on Tuesday. She was struck by a taxi while crossing on a green light at a busy Victoria intersection. The cab sped off, leaving the 47-year-old paralegal lying on the road.

Several pedestrians were also hit by vehicles in Victoria and Nanaimo in late November. In two cases, the victims died.

According to ICBC, there is typically an average 80 per cent increase across the province in the number of pedestrians hit by vehicles during November and December compared with July and August.

Every year during November and December in B.C., there is an average of 525 crashes in which a pedestrian is injured compared to in July and August when there are an average of 290 crashes in which a pedestrian is injured.

On Vancouver Island, over the last five years, there has been an average of 330 crashes a year with at least one pedestrian injured and an annual average of 11 fatalities.

Police could not point to a common theme for Tuesday's crashes. Two of the incidents occurred when it was dark and raining. Two other cases happened in the morning under bright skies and on dry roads.

"No matter who is on our roads, pedestrians or vehicles, we all have a responsibility to be aware of our surroundings and where we are going," said Victoria Const. Mike Russell.

Hamilton said she is always conscientious while crossing the road. She looked both ways before stepping off the curb to cross Quadra at Yates Street just before 8 p.m., carrying a fuchsia umbrella, pink bag and wearing white shoes.

"All of a sudden I heard a thump, thump," she said. "Then I realized he got me in the right thigh and back and I went down. All I could see was a flash of yellow disappear."

A witness told police she saw a yellow taxi speed off and possibly turn onto View Street. The cab was turning left off Yates onto Quadra when it clipped Hamilton. She hopes video surveillance will help identify the cab and is appealing to the public for help.

In the first incident Tuesday, a 51-year-old man was hit about 8 a.m. at Stanley and Fort streets. He is in Victoria General Hospital with head injuries as well as a broken femur, ankle and pelvis.

A beige Ford F-150 truck was headed south when it struck the man at a crosswalk marked with pedestrian crossing signs overhead, said police, who are still looking into the incident.

The second crash occurred at 10: 23 a.m. in the 500 block of Chatham Street, near Mark's Work Warehouse. A 72-year-old Colwood man was crossing the road when a vehicle driven by a 39-year-old Victoria man struck him as it pulled out of a parking lot.

About 8 p.m., a grey Toyota Tercel struck a 17-year-old pedestrian at Blanshard Avenue and Humboldt Street. The driver of the car was ticketed for failing to yield, which carries a $167 fine. The pedestrian had nonlife-threatening injuries.

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