A growing number of vehicle and pedestrian collisions have Penticton RCMP raising their eyebrows.
Police say pedestrians have been the cause for several of the accidents that have occurred over the past month. This includes the death of a man on Highway 97 on Saturday and an incident on Monday where a pedestrian suffered non-life threatening injuries at the intersection of the Channel Parkway and Fairview Road — the same place where a 20-year-old Penticton man was struck and killed by a van while he was illegally crossing the intersection.
“Any loss is too much and these are some unfortunate incidents, but you have to wonder what the heck the pedestrians were doing in the first place,” said Sgt. Rick Dellebuur. “Hopefully people just start being a little more careful when they are out there walking and cycling.”
RCMP identified 50-year-old Richard Clavette of Penticton as the pedestrian killed on Highway 97 near the Sage Mesa turnoff on Saturday around 9:30 p.m.
“Penticton RCMP were en-route to this report (of a man standing on the highway) when the male ran from the west side of the roadway into the pathway of a northbound Ford Focus,” said Dellebuur.
Police were initially unable to identify Clavette, who was killed by the impact of the collision.
“The only items located were a black comb in his back pocket and some cigarette butts in his front pocket,” said Dellebuur.
The female driver and lone occupant of the Ford Focus was not injured, and no charges are being considered.
On Monday around 4:45 p.m. another pedestrian was struck by a vehicle. Luckily he survived, but ended up in the hospital suffering from serious injuries. Dellebuur said a Toyota compact car proceeded through a yellow light while heading north through the intersection on the Channel Parkway and Fairview Road.
“There were three pedestrians on the east side of the Channel waiting to cross, and for some unknown reason one of the pedestrians decided to jump into the intersection while the light for them was still red. Certainly alcohol was a factor for the pedestrian, not with the driver. They both got a $144 violation ticket for their troubles and fortunately it wasn’t too serious injury-wise for the pedestrian,” said Dellebuur.
RCMP said they are still investigating the incident, and according to witnesses the pedestrian sprinted across the road when there was no chance he was going to make it safely. Dellebuur said there have also been reports that the same pedestrian was standing in the middle of the road earlier.
With the warmer months looming, Dellebuur said it is imperative people start to get the message to follow the rules of the road.
“Cyclists and pedestrians have to realize they share the road with vehicles. There are rules governing vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians and often people on the bikes and walking forget that they can be charged for not obeying the signals,” said Dellebuur.
One of the problems Dellebuur said police have is they simply don’t have the resources to constantly hand out tickets for pedestrians illegally crossing or cyclists riding without helmets or on the sidewalks.
“Because we don’t have the resources to do that people just think it’s all right for them to go ahead and do those things, but it’s not. There are laws in place to prevent accidents. On the other side of that, if we do enforce it, then people start criticizing the police that they have nothing better to do and are just hassling them for not wearing a helmet for instance. It is a touchy subject,” said Dellebuur.