January 17 marked the official launch of the Town of Sidney’s Glow As You Go effort but, unofficially, some of the campaign’s free reflective armbands were being handed out to people a couple of days early.
Town councillor Kenny Podmore spearheaded the effort to try to make Saanich Peninsula pedestrians more visible at night to drivers. He said he jumped on board the idea after a few serious vehicle-pedestrian collisions elsewhere in the region in the past few weeks. With support from mayor Larry Cross and town chief administrative officer Randy Humble, Podmore said he approached ICBC, Slegg Lumber and the Sidney North Saanich RCMP for assistance. That effort managed to secure 950 reflective armbands to give away free to anyone who asks for one.
Most recently, said Podmore during the launch, ICBC came up with more funding to allow for the purchase of additional armbands.
Staff Sergeant Dennis O’Gorman of the Sidney North Saanich RCMP said any effort to help make the streets safer at night - or at any time - for pedestrians is a good one.
“We’re hoping this contributes to less accidents,” he said, noting that the RCMP’s contribution was paid for by money allocated to the detachment through the local municipalities.
When Podmore came to him, O’Gorman said he went through the last three years’ of statistics for Sidney proper.
“We’re averaging about five related pedestrian-involved incidents per year,” he said.
He agreed that’s too many and this effort will help keep people safe.
The districts of North Saanich and Central Saanich are supportive of Sidney’s initiative. North Saanich Mayor Alice Finall asked to have some armbands available at their municipal office. Central Saanich mayor Alastair Bryson noted his community gave out some 5,000 armbands a couple of years ago and is looking into doing it again - but currently is not handing them out.
Initially thinking of making the armbands available after the launch, organizers have been handing a few of them out to people, who have come to the RCMP or town office after publicity was made about the program. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis.