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Running Pedestrian with Hoody and Headphones 80% to Blame for Injuries


The Supreme Court found this running pedestrian, wearing a dark hoody with headphones 80% at fault for an accident resulting in her injury. The pedestrian appealed the finding that he was 80% at to blame for the accident.(Vandendorpel v. Evoy,2018 BCCA 442)

The accident occurred at the intersection of Mount View Avenue and Sooke Road in Colwood, B.C.  The judge concluded that had the driver gone slower, he would have likely seen the pedestrian in the crosswalk and been able to take measures to avoid the accident. Accordingly, the judge held him in breach of his duty of care by travelling 55 km/hr in a 50 km/hr zone.

However, the judge found the pedestrian mostly to blame because he was dressed in dark clothing, including a dark hooded pullover that was zipped up to the top. None of his clothing had any light reflective qualities, he was also wearing headphones and listening to music and that reduced his ability to hear any on-coming traffic. He also had to cross a five-lane roadway that spanned approximately 18 metres. Although he depressed the pedestrian control device, he only waited a second or so before he attempted to cross the roadway. He carelessly did so even though the pedestrian control signal was still red and the traffic control signals were still green. Notwithstanding all of this, the pedestrian chose to run across the path of the on-coming car instead of standing fast or retreating.

The court of appeal dismissed the appeal and agreed that the conduct the claimant showed a reckless disregard for his duties as a pedestrian on the roadway.

A pedestrian has a legal obligation to avoid creating a foreseeable risk of harm to themselves. This is an obligation the pedestrian owes to themselves, not an obligation that is owed to others.

Posted by Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B

Tags: At Fault, contributory negligence

"Renn A. Holness is a gifted lawyer and author to over 1000 legal blog articles. Married father of two daughters, son of a neurosurgeon and founder of Holness Law Group."

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