Pedestrian safety advocate speaks out after police give reflective armbands to seniors

Pedestrian and cycling safety advocates are speaking out after Toronto police officers handed out reflective armbands to seniors at an event aimed at raising awareness about pedestrian safety.

Officers who attended the event, which was held at Woodside Square mall in Scarborough on Saturday, offered up safety tips to pedestrians and handed out reflective armbands to elderly residents.

The move sparked an outcry from pedestrian safety advocates, including Friends and Families for Safe Streets spokesperson Jessica Spieker.

“The reason that no road safety advocate likes this approach is that all of the evidence tells us it simply won’t work,” Spieker told CP24 on Monday.

“It is a waste of money, time, energy, and other resources to be essentially trampling the Charter rights of seniors because we all have a Charter right to freedom of personal expression and that includes our clothing choices.”

Coun. Mike Layton also weighed in on the controversy at the city hall on Monday, noting that he does not think it is reasonable to expect people to wear reflective armbands to protect themselves.

“I don’t know what they do in other parts of the world and whether or not this is something that works. All I do know is I don’t think we can expect everyone to wear an armband just to try to feel safe,” he said.

But not all city councilors share Layton’s views.

Ward 6 Coun. James Pasternak took to Twitter on Monday to voice his support for reflective clothing with reflective fabric .

“Wearing high visibility clothing or reflective gear is a key part of keeping everyone safe, including pedestrians, construction workers, cyclists, police officers, and crossing guards,” he wrote in a tweet.

Spieker said that there have been no studies to suggest that wearing reflective gear is a good way to prevent pedestrian deaths.

“There is no evidence that it works. Any study that has looked at high (visibility clothing) on vulnerable road users doesn’t find much of an impact. One study found it made things worse. So we know this isn’t going to have an impact and yet were focusing on it anyway,” she said.

She said improving the design of infrastructure is the main way to reduce collisions involving pedestrians and cyclists.

“Our current road design induces drivers to speed. We have these wide, straight lines. It looks a lot like Highway 401 so people tend to drive that way… predictably blowing red lines, making inattentive turns, they strike pedestrians who have the right of way,” she said.

“We lose one vulnerable road user per week roughly… This is not a trivial issue and this is not something that we should be delaying and playing games around.”

Spieker noted that the city could improve road safety by adding things like protective barriers.

“These are not expensive. They are not difficult to do,” she said. “There is no reason to not just aggressively pursue what we know will work.”

We are not opposed to change, but the traffic police have not suggested anything to us

The Ministry of Transport is ready to hold a debate on some of the changes that the new head of traffic police Tomas Lerch would like to push through. One such change could also affect the point system. Lerch is considering compulsory reflective clothing in the dark for pedestrians or confiscation of technical certificates on-site.

According to the Ministry of Transport, however, the police have not yet submitted any proposal for changes and the Ministry has not consulted on such a thing. However, it does not oppose the proposal.

“Some recommendations of the traffic police can be debated. Possible changes in sanctions for traffic offenses must be assessed with a view to not softening the current system and loosening discipline among drivers,” said ministry spokesman Tomas Gerold.

He hinted at Lerch’s talk to MF DNES on Monday about possible adjustments to the point system. “The system today says – twice and enough. And we say three times and enough, but the driver is punished on the spot. There is no need for community discussions and obstructions that are often written,” Lerch said.

In addition to adjusting the point system, the traffic police are also burning the condition of the fleet. The road is often returned to vehicles after total accidents. “If you buy a new car today, after a year you crash and get it repaired, and the repair is not done professionally, you don’t need a technical inspection for three years and your car is not only a threat to you,” says Lerch.

According to the Ministry’s spokesman, the ministry is ready to work closely with the traffic police in this case. “If legislation is to be made on this matter, it is necessary to set the measures so that they are unambiguous for both the driver and the traffic police,” Neřold said. It would be necessary, for example, to carefully define in which cases the police may drive the car off the road after an accident and require a new technical inspection, the spokesman said.

Lerch’s proposal for mandatory reflective material features on pedestrian wear in the dark will have less chance of enforcement. In the past, the Ministry of Transport has advised the Ministry of Transport to use reflective accessories in poor visibility. It is unrealistic to impose reflective elements on them.


Defensive driving isn’t just a concept reserved for automobile drivers.

It’s just as important – probably even more so – for cyclists.

“I think one of the biggest things as a bicyclist is to be a defensive rider, very focused and alert – able to anticipate what cars around you may do before they do it,” UVA Health System injury prevention coordinator Liz Cochran said. “The sooner you can detect potential conflicts on the road, the quicker you can act to avoid a potential crash.”

But that doesn’t mean cyclists here – or anywhere for that matter – can let their guard down.

Knowing the rules of the road is just one-way cyclists can protect themselves, according to UVA Health System injury prevention coordinator Liz Cochran.

According to Cochran, bike-related head injuries are the No. 1 reason for sports- and recreation-related emergency room visits for U.S. children ages 14 and under.

Here are six tips from Cochran on how bikers can better protect themselves:

1. Don’t just wear any helmet

Just because you’re wearing a helmet doesn’t necessarily mean you’re protected.

Cochran says people often buy helmets that don’t fit correctly, or even worse, they wear a helmet but leave it unbuckled.

It starts with getting the correct fit, she said.

“You can’t just go by a rider’s age,” she said. “You have to test them out to find the right size for a person’s head.

“You can start with a tape measure to measure your head, staying above your ears and your eyebrows because that’s where the helmet fit will be. Just like a pair of jeans, you’re going to have brands that vary in their sizing charts. Just because a certain size fits at Wal-Mart, doesn’t mean the same will at Target. You have to try it on and make sure it is snug all around. You don’t want any spaces between the foam tab and your head.”

And Cochran says you also have to make sure you’re wearing the helmet correctly.

“You want to put your fingers in a ‘V’ shape, like a peace sign, under and slightly in front of a bike rider’s ears and the straps should align with your fingers. The chin strap should be fitted under their chin, but should not be so snug that one or two fingers can’t fit beneath it. An easy way to test it is to open your mouth wide, like a yawn, and the helmet should pull down on the head. If not, the chin strap needs to be tighter.

“You can pull the straps on the back of the helmet to adjust it, and once it’s fastened, the helmet shouldn’t move in any direction. It should be snug, but not so snug that you can’t open your mouth.”

2. Check Your Bike

Before you go out for a ride, inspect your bike.

“So often people get on the bike and right away want to go out on the roads. And that’s great, we encourage people to bike and exercise, but you also have to educate yourself first on how to be a responsible bike rider, just like you would be a vehicle driver, “Cochran said, “and that includes checking the ABC’s of bike safety – air, brakes, chain / clean.”

“Also, you want to find a bike that fits you. If it’s too big, it’s going to be much harder to control. If it’s too small, you’re going to be putting out a lot more effort.”

3. Careful with Carry-Ons

“If you’re carrying items on a bike, you want them either in a backpack on your back or strapped on the back of the bike. You don’t want anything swinging from your arms as you’re trying to ride,” Cochran said.

That advice extends to your clothing, too.

“Wearing anything long and loose isn’t the best riding attire as clothing can easily get caught up in chains and gears and cause a crash,” she said. “Make sure shoelaces are tied and tucked in, pant legs are cuffed up, and long dresses and skirts are kept clear of the bike chain and gears.”

4. Guiding Light

“Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective clothing or reflective vest in the evening hours, as well as having lights on your bike,” Cochran said.

5. Lose the Booze

This may seem like a no-brainer, but Cochran said the numbers suggest otherwise.

“In recent statistics, alcohol was involved in 37% of all fatal bicycle crashes,” she said. “If you’re drinking, you shouldn’t be operating or driving any vehicle, and this applies to bikes as well.”

“Anyone who works in the field of trauma will tell you, lots of injuries that come through have an alcohol-related component to them; problematic drinking habits are something we screen all injured patients for at UVA.”

6. Rules of the Road

Cochran suggests learning all you can about cycling laws via the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and also going to your local bike shop and biking community to “pick their brains.”

“Local riders can tell you from their own experiences what area roads that are safer to ride on, or ones they would suggest avoiding,” she said. “Aside from wearing a helmet, being an educated bicyclist is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself.”

A risky month for pedestrians

It was dark and raining Monday night, when a man wearing dark clothes crossed against the light on Fraser Highway at the intersection with the Langley Bypass.

A driver making a left-hand turn didn’t see the pedestrian in time to stop and knocked him down.

Ambulance paramedics didn’t find any serious injuries and the man declined an offer of transport to the hospital.

It was one of three such incidents reported in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley that night.

Langley RCMP is reminding residents that November is a risky time of year for pedestrians, who need to be aware of the potential hazards.

Just because you are in the right, doesn’t mean you are safe, cautioned the head of the Langley RCMP traffic section, Sgt. Matthew LaBelle.

“The crosswalk is not a cone or wall of safety,” LaBelle observed.

“Pedestrians need to be reminded that they have a role in assuring their safety,” he advised.

Sgt. LaBelle said “common sense” precautions can help prevent accidents, such as walking facing traffic and wearing reflective clothing or attaching reflectors.

ICBC has mounted a pedestrian safety campaign with police and TransLink to urge pedestrians and drivers to stay safe as crashes with pedestrians spike at this time of year.

ICBC stats show Langley averages 85 pedestrian-related accidents a year.

According to the insurance agency, the number of pedestrians injured in crashes from October to January nearly doubles as the weather changes and daylight hours decrease

Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s Vice-President of Public Affairs and Driver Licensing said the risk is highest late in the day.

“Crashes with pedestrians are highest between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. every day when most of us are commuting home from school and work,” Matthews said.

In B.C., 1,200 pedestrians are injured in crashes between October and January and 670 pedestrians are injured between May and August.

Safety tips from the RCMP in B.C.

For Pedestrians:

Wear bright colors or reflective clothing with reflective tape 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.

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.

Surrey pedestrians, please stop jaywalking

It is our collective Christmas wish, here at the Now-Leader, for people to stop jaywalking.

Is it too much to ask?

We know it ’s tempting to make a dash for it sometimes. Impatience is, after all, a human condition. But if you want to keep on being a human – an alive one, anyway – please resist that urge. So much depends on it.

Members of our staff have witnessed people making a run for it across busy streets like King George Boulevard rather than using a crosswalk fewer than 50 strides away.

Of course, sometimes pedestrians are injured or killed in crosswalks. But your chances of survival are much greater using one of these than hoping traffic will stop for you as you run for it, especially during rainy nights and mornings, and especially if you are not wearing reflective clothing with reflective fabric.

A woman died on Dec. 16 after being hit by a car in Cloverdale, at the intersection of 192nd Street and 80th Avenue. Earlier that day, another woman was injured, also in Cloverdale, while crossing at the intersection of 188th Street and 56B Avenue .

The day before, a man was killed after being hit by a vehicle in the 7100-block of Scott Road. The Surrey RCMP said he ’d been crossing the street mid-intersection.

So far this year, seven pedestrians have been killed in Surrey. Not all victims, of course, had been jaywalking. However, these seven souls gone, leaving behind grieving families and friends, underlines the risk pedestrians face in Surrey and the need for drivers and pedestrians alike to be vigilant.

According to ICBC, there were 450 pedestrian-related traffic crashes in Surrey last year, 440 in 2017, 400 in 2016, 430 in 2015 and 390 in 2014.

That makes for a five-year average of 420 pedestrian crashes in Surrey annually. The five-year average for the entire Lower Mainland is 2,300.

In the years 2014 to 2018, there were 2,110 pedestrian-related crashes in Surrey and an unbelievable 11,400 in the Lower Mainland.

As a species, we have to be smarter than this.

Short days and less bright streets: dangerous autumn and winter

In this period of the year, the hours of daylight are reduced, particularly in the morning and at dusk, considerably affecting the number of road accidents. In the last 10 years it has been noted that from November to February, from 05.00 to 09.00 and from 17.00 to 19.00, the probability of being injured or killed in accidents increases up to 58% compared to the rest of the year. This percentage is higher for less protected users, such as motorcyclists, cyclists, and pedestrians. The TCS, on the occasion of the international day of light, draws attention to this danger and to the need to see and be seen.

The TCS recommends that the most vulnerable road users pay particular attention to the visibility conditions, adopting a defensive guide and equipping themselves with clearly visible and season-appropriate safety clothing. The accidents that see them involved are more frequent in these months, characterized by reduced brightness and difficult atmospheric situations.

Motorcyclists, cyclists, and pedestrians at risk

For motorcyclists, the risk of accidents in the morning, from November to February, is almost 60% higher than in the other months of the year. This time slot, in addition to that between 17.00 and 19.00 (for a total of 6 hours), counts – over 24 hours – more than 40% of the motorists involved in an accident.

Even cyclists are equally exposed to these dangers in the same critical period of the year. A traditional cyclist is 52% more likely to incur an accident between 05.00 and 09.00 and even has an additional 54% chance that such an accident will cause serious injury or death. This last risk also affects drivers of electric bicycles with a percentage of 43% in the same time slot.

Pedestrians are the most vulnerable users in road traffic, particularly in winter. The greatest number of accidents happens in the morning with 44% more than 25% which is usually included at the end of the day.

Some tips to move safely

Road users are responsible for their vision and to be seen at all times. This golden rule is even more important for users who do not drive, so they are not protected by a body and are therefore more vulnerable in road traffic.

To be able to see well, in this period characterized by short days, cyclists and motorcyclists must check the lighting of their vehicle, before setting off. For their part, pedestrians must favor well-lit paths, to observe traffic well and prevent, where appropriate, dangers.

At the same time, it is advisable to increase one’s visibility. Drivers on two wheels can equip them with reflectors and wear light or reflective clothing with reflective tape. Clothing is an essential factor for safety, even for pedestrians. The “Made Visible” campaign, conducted by the TCS with the Road Safety Fund, provides numerous attractive solutions to combine fashion and visibility in all circumstances. Scarves, stickers, pendants, stylized backpacks: the possibilities to make oneself more visible are not lacking!

The law brought a novelty for cyclists

The latest changes to the Road Traffic Safety Act have also brought some novelty to cyclists, who now have to wear reflective vests, clothing or other reflective markings when riding on all roads.

Cyclists who fail to comply with the obligation to wear a reflective vest, reflective clothing or reflective driving tag may be fined HRK 300.

The provision, found in a law passed on September 27, which had just come into force, surprised cyclists’ associations because, they claimed, it was not mentioned during the public hearing.

“We agree that the visibility of cyclists on the roads is extremely important, but European and international experience has shown that the proposed measure of wearing reflective clothing decreases the attractiveness, convenience, and accessibility of using a bicycle as a local vehicle, which minimizes and counteracts the many positive effects that bicycle popularization has in the community, “the Cyclists’ Union said, warning that the stricter obligation to use reflective clothing, in this case, was not based on evidence to suggest that existing legal obligations were insufficient.

And until now, cyclists have been obliged to use bicycle lights and reflective clothing with reflective fabric or vests on public roads anyway.

Namely, the police do not collect data on the use of lights and reflective clothing, or even as data in road accident reports involving bicycles.

“Existing legal requirements for the use of lights would be far more effective measures for the night visibility of bicycle riders, but their level of use is extremely low. by that data, about half of bicycle riders in the Zagreb area do not use any lights in the evening and at night, and less than 40 percent use both statutory lights: front white and rear red, “say the Cyclists’ Union.

Why motorcycle riders shun high-visibility clothing

Motorcycle riders are greatly overrepresented in the U.S. traffic deaths, with more than 5,000 killed each year.

The Governors Highway Safety Association says frequently when cars and motorcycles are involved in a crash, car drivers said they didn’t even see the motorcycle.

The safety group says wearing high-visibility clothing with reflective material could help prevent some of those types of crashes – but its new study finds many reasons why motorcycle riders don’t.

Spokeswoman Kara Macek says many who participated in the study dislike the neon colors used in most high visibility or reflective clothing. Clothing is often not seen as “cool,” and study participants had some derogatory names for those who wear it, such as “midlife crisis riders.”

Others didn’t think the high-visibility clothing would help, believing that the noise of their motorcycles would make car drivers notice them, more than high-visibility gear.

“The few folks who did report wearing this gear said they did so because they had been involved in a motor vehicle crash,” says Macek, “or someone they knew had been involved in a motor vehicle crash.”

Macek says states can use the study to educate motorcycle riders about the importance of wearing reflective or high visibility clothing with reflective tape.

And she says companies should make the clothing more appealing to motorcyclists.

The spikes of cyclists and road safety specialists are still crossed

For four years, cyclists have been on the road with reflective vests or headlights on for the day. The rules quite old and dissatisfaction is still going on, but traffic safety specialists do not promise to come down. Like cyclists. Old changes Increasing the number of bicycles in cities is one of the cornerstones of sustainable mobility plans currently being prepared by Lithuanian municipalities. Many of them are likely to have phrases such as promoting clean vehicles and building infrastructure for them. Cities are trying to show, through a variety of means, that they want to become more attractive to those who drive an alternative vehicle, such as straight cycle paths, lines where they cannot be drawn, and bicycle signs. Action is underway, but by observing such work, the cycling community is pointing the finger at adopted laws and regulations governing road safety, which, they say, only make cycling worse and sometimes even discourage them from choosing this vehicle. The biggest misunderstanding cyclists cite in a 2014 government decree is the requirement to wear a high visibility vest with light reflectors or turn on white light on the front of a bicycle and a red one on the back of a bicycle during daytime driving. The combination of these three measures is a must for a cyclist when he is moving in the driveway during the dark hours of the day. Even angrier was the ban on crossing the carriageway when using pedestrian crossings.

Marius Kučinskas, an active cyclist, surveyed the social network Facebook group “Lithuanian Cyclists’ Society”, asking cyclists whether they are following the changes to the KET that took effect on October 1, 2014. When asked whether cycling through pedestrian crossings, the vast majority of cyclists answered yes. Ask whether the cyclists wear a vest or turn on the lights during daylight hours, 64%. Of those surveyed, 36% said that they travel without reflectors or a vest. claimed to have used at least one of the above tools. It is true that when looking at the results of respondents from different cities, there are differences in approach. In Vilnius, as much as 57 percent. cyclists are reluctant to wear reflective vests with reflective tapes and turn on lights; Kaunas cyclists also claimed daytime running with lights on or wearing a vest. M. Kucinskas says that this is not a representative survey, but it reveals the general attitude of cyclists towards the changes imposed on them. “I have repeatedly appealed to the Ministry of Transport to discuss changes to these rules, but the ministry’s specialists are silent on the possibility of proposing to the Government to amend a ruling made four years ago, arguing that such a change was necessary and contributed significantly to safer cyclists participation in traffic, “said M.Kucinskas. The same was confirmed to the newspaper by Vidmantas Pumputis, Senior Advisor of the Road Transport and Civil Aviation Policy Department of the Ministry of Transport and Communications. “No changes are being planned to this KET point,” he commented laconically. However, active cyclists do not stop pedaling and letting their hands down – they have put forward their suggestions to several members of the Seimas and hope that their views will be heard. As the aforementioned amendments to the KET were adopted by a Government resolution, they may be rendered irrelevant by the Seimas by adopting the relevant amendments to the Law on Road Traffic Safety. As the ruling is against the law, it should be amended or waived. Everything about safety Stasys Brundza, a Member of the Seimas last year, says he doesn’t understand cyclists’ reluctance to ride with lights on or wearing reflective vests. “After all, such decisions have been made to improve the visibility of cyclists on the road. Even when subjected to the weather, cyclists do not park their vehicles in pantries or balconies, and visibility is now extremely low, making it much easier for drivers to spot with light or bright reflective clothing. Is it so difficult to buy a light bulb costing several or ten euros to contribute to your safety and that of others on the road? ” the former MP did not hide his surprise. There’s another reason why cyclists should ride with lights on and vests on, so the driver can identify them as faster-moving road users, he said. “In poorer weather conditions, cyclists can confuse a cyclist with a pedestrian – cycling and pedestrian heights are quite similar, and speeds vary several times, so the driver, just after looking into a pedestrian circle, should understand how fast they are moving and not in between, like cyclists,” Brundza shared his thoughts.

Helmets for everyone?

He also said he did not understand why it was not accepted for many years that all cyclists should wear helmets. They are now mandatory for cyclists and cyclists under the age of 18, according to KETs, and only recommended for those over 18. “Foreign scientists have long proven that about 50% of cyclists who have been involved in accidents have head injuries that could have been avoided if cyclists were wearing helmets,” the MP said. Cyclist M.Kucinskas, who communicated with the daily newspaper, said that such regulation would also seem appropriate and necessary for him. The brand would also recommend the use of helmets for scooters, who are increasingly found on city streets.

Big police action kicks off

It is an old year and many today will embark on a trip, visiting family, organized New Year’s Eve, and some people will go further, whether at home or abroad. Also, last-minute shopping can cause additional stress, resulting in a lack of concentration and nervousness in traffic, with traffic jams in shopping malls.

Also, increased traffic and congestion are expected on all major thoroughfares, as well as at border crossings.

Unfortunately, in the Old Year last year and the first hours of New 2018, we recorded an increase in the number of traffic accidents involving fatalities, more specifically in four road accidents five people were killed.

For this reason, we would like to remind you of the tips for drivers, which we always repeat during the holidays when there are crowds and congestion:

Don’t rush, take the time and go on a journey sooner rather than cause a traffic accident,

Prepare your vehicle and yourself for the journey, especially if you are going for the long haul,

Get up-to-date on road conditions and traffic flow, as well as weather conditions that may affect you while traveling,

Observe traffic rules and regulations, do not initiate risky vehicle actions (e.g., off-peak traffic, vehicle column overtaking),

Adjust the speed to the road conditions and keep to its limits,

Keep the distance you need when moving behind another vehicle,

Pass pedestrians and exercise caution and slow down when approaching pedestrian crossings.

Tips for drivers who have consumed alcohol:

Leave your car parked properly and walk away – it will benefit you and you will not endanger anyone,

Use public transit,

Use taxi services because it will be far safer and cheaper,

If you are in the company, arrange in advance who will stay sober and drive back,

Ask someone sober to drive you,

Do not sit behind the wheel for at least 24 hours after drinking a large amount of alcohol,

While driving under the influence of alcohol, you are not only endangering yourself but also other road users,

On nights of high risk (weekend), drive slower and more cautiously, whether you drink or not,

Remember that no reason is warranted for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

In addition to the driver, we also have some tips for pedestrians and cyclists:

Specifically, in winter, when days are shorter and visibility is often reduced due to weather conditions (fog, cloudy, precipitation), pedestrians are more difficult to spot for drivers.

Therefore, we advise everyone, especially older pedestrians, to wear lighter clothing or at least one garment in a lighter color to increase their visibility and thus directly affect their traffic safety. In addition to lighter clothing, we also recommend the use of reflective details (reflective vests, reflective hand straps with reflective tapes or socks) for both pedestrians and cyclists, whose visibility is also reduced in the winter. Bicycle traffic has declined during the winter, however, a significant number of people continue to use it as a means of transport, which is why unlighted bikes and cyclists without reflective clothing are at increased risk of road traffic accidents.

The police have acted intensely throughout December, which will continue today, as well as throughout this week, and will focus its activities on preventing and sanctioning the most serious offenses, in particular, the so-called “offenses”. The “four major traffic killers” (alcohol, speed, seat belt, and cellphone) and, according to repeat offenders, repeat offenders.

In addition to the police, motorists, like all other road users, with their responsible behavior, can also contribute to increasing the level of road safety.