People on foot and on two wheels are vulnerable to road accidents.
The desire to remain fit and healthy over the pandemic and beyond has seen more people regularly out walking, running and cycling. Yet with so many more people now getting around on foot, bike and possibly e-scooters, there are concerns for the increased risks to vulnerable road users.
The latest vehicle collision data for Canada showed that pedestrians accounted for 15.2% of the fatalities in 2020, with motorcyclists close behind at 13.9% and cyclists 2.9%i. Pedestrians also accounted for 13.4% of those with in vehicle accidents which caused serious injuriesii. Vehicle accidents have devastating consequences not only for those who are injured but also their family. As such, we all have a responsibility to protect those we share the road with.
Vulnerable Road Users (VRU) is a term used to describe any road user who is not inside a motor vehicle, for example:
Many incidents involving horses happen on minor roads and in rural areas. The frequency of incidents might be lessened by keeping these factors in mind:
In Canada, the permissibility and rules around using e-scooters does vary by city. As an alternative to walking or driving, where they are permitted, their popularity is likely to grow over time. From a risk perspective, some areas of concern include:
As you might expect, the evening rush (starting at 3 p.m. and ending at 6 p.m.) is the most common time for incidents. Stats show that this three-hour period in the late afternoon accounts for 25% of all collisions that happen over the course of the dayiii.
Professional drivers and fleet operators will be familiar with the risks caused by ‘blind spots.’ These are the areas around the vehicle that a driver cannot see by looking through the windows or standard mirrors. Blind spots affect many vehicle types but are especially worrying on larger vehicles such as buses and trucks. The result could be a driver not seeing a cyclist pedaling up the inside of the vehicle.
Speed is also a factor. Drivers travelling at higher speeds will have less time to react; the higher the speed, the more serious the accident can be.
All drivers should exercise basic safety routines, including:
Commercial fleet operators can also:
In summary: increased awareness and vigilance will help to cut the number of incidents involving vulnerable road users.
Finally, a reminder that if you have an incident and need to make an insurance claim, it’s important that you report it as soon as possible, ideally the same day. Reporting a claim early can save time and help you to receive any claim payments faster.