ICBC road safety and community coordinator Christine Kirby hands out reflective keychain to a Vernon pedestrian at the kick-off event. (Brieanna Charlebois/ Morning Star)

RCMP kick off Heads Up! pedestrian safety campaign

The campaign will take place throughout November at various high-risk locations around Vernon to raise awareness of pedestrian collisions.

The Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP, the City of Vernon and ICBC are working together to launch the Heads Up! pedestrian safety campaign.

They gathered at the corner of 34th Street and 25th Avenue from 2-4 p.m. as part of a Heads Up! safety program demonstration Wednesday, Nov. 7. They will be in various locations around Vernon throughout the month of November to remind people — pedestrians and drivers — to stay aware as conditions worsen and winter comes.

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The campaign will take place at various high-risk locations throughout the city to raise awareness of pedestrian collisions; reminding pedestrians and drivers that pedestrian safety is a shared responsibility and to be aware and keep your heads up.

RCMP officers and city volunteers took to the corner of one of Vernon’s busiest streets Wednesday to distribute reflectors and safety tips for pedestrians and drivers. For social media, the campaign is using the hashtag #HeadsUp.

“Often pedestrian-involved collisions occur when drivers are executing right- or left-hand turns at intersections and when pedestrians are either jay-walking, wearing dark clothing or not paying attention to what’s around them as well,” said RCMP spokesperson Const. Kelly Brett. “We just want to remind everyone to pay attention as we enter the winter months and it starts getting darker earlier in the day.”

At the inaugural event, the team was handing out ICBC reflective gear. This program officially launched this week, following daylights savings.

Christine Kirby, ICBC road safety and community coordinator, said 43 per cent of all crashes where a pedestrian gets injured happen in just four months of the year, October to January, when it gets dark earlier and visibility and weather conditions worsen.

“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,” said Kirby. “When walking, we need to help drivers see us by staying focused on the road and making eye contact with drivers.”

Angela Broadbent, active transportation coordinator with the City of Vernon said, “Whether we are walking, biking, or driving, we all have a responsibility to take care of each other on our roads. As the days get darker, it is important to slow down and be mindful, especially at intersections and in areas frequented by children.”

Anyone interested in more information/safety tips are welcome to visit: https://www.vernon.ca/headsup.

Related: Vernon RCMP urge Halloween safety

Related: Vernon RCMP launch Safe Place program

Related: RCMP to host emergency services showcase in Vernon

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Several volunteers are participating throughout November to promote safety during the winter months. (Brieanna Charlebois/ Morning Star)

The team spread awareness of the campaign Wednesday at the corner of 34th Street and 25th Avenue. (Brieanna Charlebois/ Morning Star)

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