At a recent City Council meeting, Mayor Ron McRae asked Cpl. Chris Newel of the Kimberley RCMP about the very busy crosswalk in front of the Kootenay Savings Credit Union. The Mayor said the crosswalk is very busy and he had noticed quite a few instances of vehicles not stopping when someone steps into the crosswalk, and also pedestrians stepping out without really looking for traffic. He asked Newel if police could keep an eye on the crosswalk.
Newel said that it was important for everyone to be aware of the rules around crosswalks.
“Police would like to remind motorists they must yield to pedestrians in cross walks but everybody needs to be aware of the rules,” Newel said. “A crosswalk does not have to be painted; the general rule is any intersection is a crosswalk. Drivers need to be alert for persons darting out, but pay particular attention to those waiting to cross. Pedestrians need to show they wish to cross, be at the edge of the curb, make eye contact with the driver. Don’t wave drivers on as they slow down or stop, this only leads to frustration.
“According to the Motor Vehicle Act, vehicles only need to stop if they are traveling in the lane closest to the pedestrian, the opposite lane does not need to stop until the pedestrian is approaching the center of the roadway. Drivers should not be stopping to allow persons to jaywalk — this creates a traffic hazard. This is particularly evident near the Kimblery Post Office. Drivers stop for persons waiting to cross, this causes a back up of traffic, sometimes into the intersection, which can create a dangerous situation.
“Police would also like to clarify that persons riding bicycles are not pedestrians. They must walk their bike in order to be considered pedestrians. Bicycles are considered vehicles and have the same rights and responsibilities of drivers of a motor vehicle including riding on the right side of the road and obeying the traffic laws just as if they were in a vehicle.