Happy Crosswalk Safety Awareness Day!
(By Mark Raftus)
Did you know that today, Wednesday, November 4, 2015 marks the second annual Crosswalk Safety Awareness Day?
I have been following the issue of pedestrian collisions and traffic safety for some time. For example, on December 23, 2014 I posted PEDESTRIAN – CAR COLLISIONS: AN EPIDEMIC IN NOVA SCOTIA. A few months later after we started getting socked by some nasty winter weather I posted WEATHER WATCH – WINTER WALKING AND DRIVING IN NOVA SCOTIA.
But even though I have been an advocate for pedestrian safety for some time, I didn’t know that Halifax actually had an official Crosswalk Safety Awareness Day.
I learned about the public awareness initiative when I saw this article. .
An eye opening statistic found in the article advises that so far in 2015 in HRM there have been 113 pedestrian-motor vehicle collisions!
That total sounds very high but from a positive standpoint the article mentions this figure actually represents a 25% drop from this time in 2014.
Community minded safety leaders such as Norm Collins are quoted in the article. Mr. Collins started the Crosswalk Safety Flag Program on Waverley Road last year. The program has now greatly expanded to now being used at 44 locations in the HRM.
Although there is no way to track how many pedestrian-car collisions have been prevented by this initiative there is no doubt in my mind it is significant.
Further crosswalk safety initiatives such as a “Stop, Look, Live” pedestrian sign at crosswalks are now being contemplated by HRM staff but have not yet been approved for use.
Today there will be several groups at crosswalks in Metro bearing signs raising awareness for crosswalk safety.
The signs will state “Heads Up Halifax” on them. The groups will be giving out handouts to raise awareness for crosswalk safety.
Also, with the Daylight Savings Time change last weekend and the clocks falling back an hour it now becomes dark near 5pm.
The reduced visibility at this time of day coupled with increased foot traffic as people end their work days and make their way home increases the risk for pedestrian-car collisions to take place.
As a result, motorists and pedestrians alike need to be even more aware of each other.
Let’s hope that pedestrian-car collision statistics continue to fall in Metro and throughout Nova Scotia. With fantastic community initiatives such as Crosswalk Safety Awareness Day this goal can be met.