Pedestrians could be vulnerable to near-misses if they’re not wearing reflective clothing. (Screenshot/Reddit user jjc551)

Vancouver Island trail users at high risk of crashes without reflective clothing

Early nightfall adds new layer of risk for pedestrians and cyclists

The end of Daylight Saving Time may have added an extra hour of sleep, but it doesn’t help people see in the dark.

Despite this, many pedestrians and cyclists continue to access trails and roadways without any reflective clothing or lights, even though sunset comes earlier than before.

ALSO READ: Saanich Police, ICBC hand out reflectors to promote pedestrian safety

On the roads, this means that almost twice the number of pedestrians are injured in crashes from October to January, according to ICBC, and on the trails it means more crashes and near-misses.

One video posted on Victoria’s Reddit page by user jjc551 shows a cyclist just dodging a small child and an adult who were not wearing reflective clothing while using the Galloping Goose trail. The cyclist just missed them thanks to the flash of his or her headlamp.

Dark pedestrians on the Goose from r/VictoriaBC

The Campbell River RCMP have shared similar concerns about a changed intersection in that community.

Recently the Campbell River RCMP have received complaints regarding the new intersection at Maryland Road and Highway 19A, RCMP spokesperson Const. Maury Tyre says in press release. On more than one occasion, a pedestrian has almost been struck by a vehicle turning left onto the highway from Maryland.

“Motorists are seeing that green light and are turning without checking for traffic in the crosswalk,” Const. Tyre said. “It’s so important for drivers to take a little bit of extra time to check their surroundings before proceeding through an intersection. It could save a life.”

The low-light situation has prompted local police forces and staff from ICBC to pass out reflective patches, bracelets and lights, and to remind people to stay visible in the dark.

The Victoria Police Department will be passing out #BeSeen lights and reflective slap bracelets at local events and during Friday night Crime Watch patrols.

ALSO READ: Pedestrians in Aldergrove urged to ‘be safe, be seen’

“With the shorter days that come with fall and winter time of year, it is important for everyone to think about being seen,” said VicPD acting spokesperson Bowen Osoko. “Whether on a trail, riding a bicycle, or simply walking to meet a friend, this time of year we all have a part to play in keeping all of us safe on roads, paths and trails in the region. That’s why we hand out hundreds of #BeSeen lights and reflector ‘slap-wraps’ at this time of year. Being seen means being safe.”

These reflective options can also be picked up at any time at either the Esquimalt Division at 500 Park Pl. or at the downtown VicPD headquarters at 850 Caledonia Ave.

For more information on the ICBC pedestrian safety initiative, you can also visit icbc.com/road-safety

Safety tips for pedestrians:

  • Wear bright colours or reflective clothing after dusk and before dawn
  • Even if you have the right of way, be sure to look before crossing
  • Make eye contact with drivers to ensure they know you are there
  • At controlled crosswalks, wait until drivers stop before crossing
  • If you use earbuds or headphones, make sure you can still hear surrounding noise

Safety tips for drivers:

  • Slow down; roads will start to get slippery and stopping distances increase
  • Change those tires (If your tires aren’t suited to the weather you can be ticketed and you can be held liable in an accident)
  • Pay attention to all pedestrian signals-even if you have a green light to drive someone may be crossing a crosswalk at an intersection legally
  • Shoulder check; many cars with new technology warn of impending collisions, but nothing beats using your own eyes
  • Pay attention to all road signs; they warn of upcoming hidden intersections and crosswalks
  • Put down the phone, your call or text is not worth some one’s life

—with a file from Alistair Taylor

vnc.editorial@blackpress.com

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