COLUMN: ‘Have a word with yourself’

From Councillor Robin Cherbo…

With summer and tourist season already here, it is the obligation of drivers, bike riders, and pedestrians to safely share the streets and roads. There are many ways available for everyone to make themselves visible around Nelson.

With an increase of tourist traffic, drivers should pay more attention and watch out in shaded road areas for people. The Ministry of Transportation, through the road contractor, could do a better job of upgrading highways by using reflective paint on center line and curbs as well as delineator posts and reflectors along guard rails along the highways.

The city public works and Nelson Hydro are working to increase visibility in the dark areas with new street lights. On the highway, from Castlegar to Nelson, the new pavement sections have been upgraded with new painted lines and more guardrail reflectors.

Unfortunately there are still a lot of areas where the reflectors have been worn off on old guard rails over the last few years and need replacing. Drivers need to be mindful to use full headlights on with tail lights on.

And be aware when using daytime running lights the tail lights on the vehicle are off. This could be especially bad in fog, rain or dark evening conditions.

In the city, some areas could be improved with installing newer street lights and reflectors or delineator posts. School zones could be improved with better signage and as in Vernon, B.C., which has the word “school” painted on the road surface where the school zones starts.

As well in the city the drivers need to slow down, stop at stop signs, and generally be more aware of their surroundings along with bike riders and pedestrians. A lot of bike riders could use flashing lights and more reflective clothing. It seems that the fashion style is to wear black or dark clothing.

At night it is very difficult to see people with dark clothing walking along the side of roads and streets or getting out of a vehicle. Bike riders could use a flashing white light on the front of their bike as well as a flashing red light on the back of the bike, and wear a helmet and reflective bike clothes to be more visible.

Even on sunny days, if people are riding or walking in shady areas, it is still difficult to see them. Pedestrians walking across crosswalks or streets need to look around to see if drivers have seen them or have time to stop. The people in dark clothing, who are walking or running across the streets or roads at night with poor visibility, are taking an unnecessary risk.

As well, bike riders and skateboarders should not be riding across sidewalks or down the sidewalks for the sake of pedestrians and drivers.

As the TV ad states, “Have a word with yourself.” Are you safety conscious? The responsibly of safety on streets and roads is incumbent on everyone, drivers, bike riders and pedestrians, to pay attention and be safety aware. Many safety products are expensive but can be available at used or discount clothing or sports stores. Safety is everyone’s responsibility with the increase in pedestrians and traffic during the summer months throughout the city.