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What to Know About Vulnerable Road Users and How to Share the Road Safely

With more Canadians walking and cycling these days, it’s more important than ever to remember to share the road

A woman and her child are shown crossing the road in a city on a sunny day

They're a segment referred to as vulnerable road users (VRU)—individuals who are most at risk of injury if they’re involved in a motor vehicle collision. They include pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and mobility device users.

Changing commuter habits

If you've noticed more people walking or cycling, it isn't your imagination. The ongoing pandemic has changed our daily habits.

In fact, a survey conducted by CAA South Central Ontario (CAASCO) last summer revealed that most people walked one to three times a week before the pandemic restrictions, compared with those who drove daily for their commute. After the pandemic began, active transportation choices skyrocketed, with people being more likely to walk every day as a way of commuting rather than driving, which was reduced to one to three times a week.

This inversion put a lot more VRUs on the road, highlighting why it’s important for everyone—pedestrians, cyclists and drivers—to be mindful of each other and to share the road.

6 Tips for vulnerable road users

Whether you’re driving, walking or riding your bike, here are five things you should do.

  • Pay attention and be aware of your surroundings. Minimize distractions like using your phone or wearing headphones.
  • Make eye contact with other road users.
  • Make sure you’re visible. Drivers, motorcyclists and cyclists should have the proper lighting on their vehicles half an hour before sunset and sunrise, as well as when it’s dark, foggy or cloudy. Pedestrians and cyclists should wear bright or reflective clothing for extra visibility.
  • Drivers, cyclists and motorcyclists should yield to pedestrians at crosswalks, crossovers and school crossings.
  • Pedestrians should only cross at marked crosswalks and intersections.
  • All vehicles, including cars and bikes, should come to a full and complete stop at red lights and stop signs.

 

Now more than ever, it’s important to be courteous and respectful to others. A dose of patience will go a long way to ensuring a safe trip for everyone.

Get more with CAA

Go online for more helpful safety tips for all road users.

Image Credit: Danil Melekhin/iStock

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