Saanich police Sgt. Alan Gurzinski hands out highly reflective medallions to pedestrians at the busy intersection of McKenzie Avenue and Borden Street Tuesday. The medallions are part of a campaign aiming to make pedestrians and cyclists more visible to drivers as the days grow shorter.

Staying bright to stay safe in Greater Victoria

Saanich police encourage all road users to be alert to conditions

As daylight hours dwindle in fall and winter and those scarce hours are usually characterized by grey, wet weather, police are reminding road users of the importance of visibility.

Saanich police, along with ICBC and the District of Saanich, this week launched their winter-long reflectivity campaign, urging vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists to make themselves highly visible while out and about.

“We’re hoping to change habits by seeing more people dressing to be seen, wearing reflective clothing, wearing reflectors on backpacks, bags and bikes,” said Sgt. Alan Gurzinski with the department’s community liaison section.

Pedestrians walking in the late afternoon and evenings should wear bright, reflective clothing or reflectors and carry a flashlight. Cyclists should also wear reflective clothes, and bikes should be outfitted with front- and rear-facing lights.

Police also remind drivers to be extra cautious and aware that they’re sharing the road.

“Be on the lookout for pedestrians and cyclists. Pay extra attention near intersections and near transit stops; scan crosswalks and intersections to make sure they’re clear – hopefully we can avoid pedestrian collisions,” Gurzinski said.

Other tips to all road users, he said, include keeping your eyes off electronics and avoid wearing headphones to help stay aware of your surroundings.

“Before stepping off a curb, look left and right, make eye contact with drivers to ensure you’ve seen them and they’ve seen you.”

People riding, walking or running on the Galloping Goose and Lochside regional trails, for example, should pay special attention since those areas have no lighting, Gurzinski said.

“It’s really important as a pedestrian to be seen, not just be able to see. You’re putting yourself at risk if you’re not visible at all.”

Police will be handing out reflectors in the coming months to help make road users more visible.

“The reflectors are just a start,” Gurzinski said.

“We need to educate to help people change their habits to make this a safer and nicer place to transit around, by walking or cycling.”

For more information on the department’s reflectivity campaign, visit saanichpolice.ca.

kslavin@saanichnews.com

By the numbers

Most dangerous intersections for pedestrians in Saanich:

• Cedar Hill X Road at Shelbourne Street

• Garnet Road at Shelbourne

• Cloverdale Avenue at Douglas Street

• Tolmie Avenue at Douglas

• Cedar Hill Road at North Dairy Road

Most dangerous intersections for cyclists

• Blanshard Street at Tolmie

• Blanshard at Cloverdale

• McKenzie Avenue at Braefoot Road

• McKenzie at Borden Street

• Feltham Road at Shelbourne

– Figures from ICBC and Saanich Police Department

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