Make Eye Contact

bikes

The City of Vernon, Vernon North Okanagan RCMP and ICBC are working together to promote pedestrian and cyclist safety.

As the days get shorter and the sun sets earlier, the risk of a pedestrian or cyclist being struck by a vehicle increases.

“43 per cent of all crashes where a pedestrian gets injured happen in just four months of the year, October to January, as visibility and conditions get worse,” said Christine Kirby, local ICBC road safety and community coordinator. “When driving, we need to take a break from our phones, be extra alert at intersections and be ready to yield the right-of-way. When walking, we need to help drivers see us by staying focused on the road and making eye contact with drivers.”

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP officers and City of Vernon Volunteers will be distributing reflectors and safety tips for cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers at targeted locations during the month of November. There will be signage on location with safety messaging and a social media campaign using the hashtag #HeadsUp. 

“Drivers should keep their heads up for pedestrians and cyclists at all times,” said Active Transportation Coordinator Angela Broadbent, “especially at intersections, crosswalks, downtown and even more so in low light. Watch for symbols called ‘sharrows’ that indicate you are on a popular bike route and need to share the road with cyclists."
“Pedestrians should wear bright or reflective clothing. Make eye contact with drivers and wait until traffic has stopped before crossing the street,” said Broadbent.

Cyclists are reminded to be predictable and follow the rules of the road. Year round cycling means taking extra care. Plan for sudden weather changes and be prepared to adjust your route and speed. Ride at least one metre from the curb to avoid hazards such as wet leaves and use a strong white headlight and red taillight.   

"Pedestrians and bicyclists are much more vulnerable than occupants of motor vehicles" says Cst Jocelyn Noseworthy, spokesperson for the Vernon/North Okanagan RCMP. "As a pedestrian or bicyclist you have to think safety first. Obey the traffic laws, and wear the right safety equipment."