A bold awareness campaign, Walk Safe, was launched with the goal of changing behaviour and ultimately, protecting pedestrians at night. With darkness setting in early evening during the winter season, pedestrians need to ensure they are visible walking through town and across roadways at night. By taking simple precautions and understanding safety hazards, the community can reduce serious and fatal accidents between vehicles and pedestrians in Whistler.
Seasonal workers just arriving to Whistler are often surprised to see the beauty of surrounding mountains in the night sky. Lighting Whistler streets and roadways is designed to enhance the resort’s natural beauty, while the brightly-lit pedestrian walkways of the Village stroll and parts of the Valley Trail guide residents and visitors to village amenities. However, transitioning from the stroll across Highway 99 and into Whistler subdivisions, pedestrians may not realize how dark the streets are, and how drivers often have difficulty seeing walkers crossing roadways.
With this reality, candid messages for Walk Safe highlight how making yourself visible while walking across Whistler roadways at night can in fact, save your life. Using a reflector, head lamp, reflective clothing or staying on lit trails, using crosswalks and walking facing traffic can each make a huge difference for a pedestrian to be visible at night.
The Walk Safe program addresses these issues by building awareness of the problem through advertising and education aimed at our target audience (ages 19-26). Walk Safe encourages pedestrians to form good habits, which include taking the necessary steps to be visible at night. AFOW provided a grant of $3000 for reflectors that attach to outer clothing, a complement to the advertising and education components. These reflectors represent a ‘starter kit’ for safer pedestrians.
More information on Walk Safe can be found on the RMOW web site.