Sidney glows at night

Town and Peninsula supporters handing out free reflective armbands to pedestrians

Glowing as they go. From left

Having picked a cool and blustery day to announce the second year of the Glow As You Go reflective armband program, organizers might have seen the weather as indicative of a typical Peninsula winter.

It’s the best time to hand out the armbands, as with the darker days and early evenings pedestrians can be more difficult to see. It’s the potential collisions between walkers and drivers the Town of Sidney and its partners in the program are hoping to avoid.

Town Councillor Kenny Podmore began the program in the winter of 2012, following a string of vehicle and pedestrian incidents in the Greater Victoria area. Despite none occurring in Sidney, Podmore felt it was important to take a preventative step. He received $1,000 from the municipality and support from the RCMP and ICBC and purchased reflective armbands, handing them out free, first come-first served.

“Now I see people wearing them everywhere,” Podmore said. “It really is working.”

His goal is to increase pedestrian safety in a community where there are a lot of walkers, joggers, scooter operators and drivers.

“One way of (being safe) is making sure you can be seen,” said Podmore, “especially in the darker, winter months.”

This year is round two of Glow As You Go. Podmore secured another $1,000 from the Town. The RCMP and ICBC are back on board, as is the District of North Saanich. New to the program this year are the Victoria Airport Authority and MLA Gary Holman.

This year’s program launch announcement was held on the Airport Authority’s new Flight Path — a 9.3 kilometer multi-use path around the airport. Authority president Geoff Dickson says since safety is the airport’s number one priority, helping improve pedestrian safety through higher visibility is a natural fit for them.

Holman came on board this year as well. His office purchased 100 of the armbands and he said they plan to distribute them to area First Nations.

“If they prevent only a few accidents,” Holman said, “it’s a hugely beneficial program.”

MP Elizabeth May was also at the launch event. She said any such safety awareness program has the potential to save lives.

North Saanich Mayor Alice Finall added many local residents use area trails and walkways and hopes the armbands can give some people peace of mind.

Sidney Mayor Larry Cross said Glow As You Go has been such a success that it has caught on in other B.C. communities.

Towns like Comox and Kamloops have adopted the idea, he said, adding it all contributes to safer communities.

“When the days are shorter, visibility is less,” said Cross. “People need to be seen.”

The reflective armbands are free and are being given out, first come-first served, at the Town of Sidney and District of North Saanich municipal offices.

They can also be found at the Sidney North Saanich RCMP detachment and the driver services office in Sidney.

At the airport, Commissionaires will hand them out.