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City, RCMP team up to eliminate pedestrian-vehicle accidents

After a string of pedestrian-vehicle collisions in Nanaimo over the past three weeks – one of them resulting in death – the city and Nanaimo RCMP are teaming up to help keep all road users safe.

Nanaimo RCMP spokesman Const. Gary O’Brien said the leading cause of each accident was lack of visibility, so the city and RCMP, through community policing funds, are purchasing reflective armbands to be distributed by general duty officers to pedestrians and cyclists.

“We’re addressing the visibility concern right away,” said O’Brien. “We have about 600 reflective armbands that we’ll be distributing so we have as many people wearing them as possible.

“They’ll also be available at our front counter (at the detachment), at out community policing office, bike shops and at pharmacies for access to seniors.”

Police will also ensure cyclists have adequate lighting systems and reflective gear when travelling on city streets.

At least two of the collisions occurred in marked crosswalks.

“What we’ve learned from these tragedies is not only the weather, but darkness and a lack of reflective gear played a part,” said Ted Swabey, the city’s general manager for development services.

“We want to bring this to everybody’s attention, especially during the holiday season, that it is everybody’s responsibility to drive safe and pay attention to pedestrians and cyclists on the road.”

Phase two of the program will include the RCMP working in a focus group that includes emergency service personnel, city officials, and citizens to create an education campaign.

O’Brien said early ideas suggest informative posters and a short video be circulated to educate drivers, pedestrians and cyclists on road etiquette, and to emphasize the importance of seeing others and being seen while using city streets.

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