Reflective bands handed out in Halifax to tackle pedestrian accidents

Published on March 5, 2014
Halifax Regional Police Const. Marshall Williams, right, hands out reflective arm bands to passing pedestrians on Spring Garden Road.
Metro Halifax/Jeff Harper

HALIFAX - It might make a good statement, but police passing out reflective armbands will not put a stop to vehicle-pedestrian accidents in the city, said Fall River resident Riley Jones.

“Pedestrians in Halifax are notoriously confident on the road,” Jones said while walking in the downtown core on Tuesday.

“They feel like the own it — they expect drivers to always be able to stop for them.”

Halifax police handed out hundreds of reflective armbands to pedestrians at a downtown Halifax intersection Tuesday afternoon in an effort to promote crosswalk safety.

So far in 2014, more than 50 pedestrians have been hit by vehicles, including 33 in crosswalks.

“The darker, colder and snowier months of the year seem to be more prevalent for accidents between pedestrians and cars,” said Halifax police Sgt. Dave Reynolds, while distributing armbands near the corner of Queen Street and Spring Garden Road.

“Add a little bit of snow or frost or rain into windshield … and it’s one of those things that have obviously becomes a recipe for disaster.”

Police hope the armbands will make pedestrians more noticeable to drivers in low-visibility conditions. All tolled, about 3,000 armbands were handed out to pedestrians Tuesday by police, with officers also visible in Dartmouth, Bedford and the city’s west end.

“Obviously (you) want people to feel comfortable on the streets and feel okay walking around but I also think pedestrians need to give due respect to vehicles and watch out,” said Jones.

But some saw the issue differently.

“People keep trying to reframe it as a shared responsibility, but the drivers are the ones that are going to be killing or injuring somebody and the pedestrians are the ones that are going to be hurt,” said Andrew Glencross from Halifax.

“It’s in everybody’s self-interest to watch out but when it comes down to whose fault it is more responsibility falls on the driver.”

Halifax’s most recent vehicle-pedestrian accident happened Monday evening when a vehicle struck a 17-year-old girl pushing a seven-month-old baby in a stroller against the light at an intersection in Clayton Park.

Luckily, neither the teen nor the baby was seriously hurt.

“It’s a two-way street and I think cars and pedestrians both need to step up and just really take their time,” Jones said.