Vancouver pedestrians safer, more numerous than in most other cities

A ground-breaking study of pedestrian safety in Vancouver shows that we do a lot more walking than most other cities and are safer while we’re at it.

The report, to be considered at council next week, shows Vancouver virtually tied with Boston both for the amount of walking done around town and the low number of fatalities. Portland, surprisingly, is near the other end of the scale. As for Los Angeles . . . don’t ask.

The number of annual fatalities is declining steadily in Vancouver. But while pedestrians are involved in only 2 percent of all traffic incidents, they account for 45 percent of fatalities. Nor are pedestrians normally at fault. In about 18 percent of the accidents, vehicles had the right of way. The rest of the time, the pedestrian was in the right.

We have about one fatality for every one million “walk to work trips.” (Portland’s toll is 2.5 and LA sees 5.2 deaths every million miles.)

The report recommends increased spending on education, along with VPD and ICBC, as well as stepped-up enforcement and continued improvements in pedestrian infrastructure.