In recognition of Canadian Road Safety Week, we are proud to feature two important community programs we proudly support that strive to reduce injuries and fatalities on our roads. Safety City and Bright at Night are both led by VPD officers with a goal to educate and protect elementary-aged children and youth across Vancouver as they navigate the city as both pedestrians and cyclists.
VPD’s Safety City Program
VPD Cst Alex Chow has led the strategic development of a brand-new program called Safety City. While the launch of the program was delayed this past year due to COVID, he is hopeful to introduce the program in Vancouver schools this fall. The program aims to teach the participants the rules of the road and how to safely navigate in an urban traffic environment. The program will include both in-classroom and practical, experience-based learning. Using a portable and comprehensive “mini-city”, Safety City will use interactive displays, equipment, kid-sized roads and traffic signs to engage and teach important safety concepts. The unique aspect of this program puts the children in pedal-powered “cars” to understand what drivers see and how it differs from the view of pedestrians.
“By providing a realistic environment, the participants will be able to apply what they learned in the classroom directly in the ‘real’ world under controlled and safe conditions,” explains Cst. Chow. “Safety City aims to educate the participants in a fun and entertaining way.”
Currently, there are no specific and consistently applied programs available in Vancouver that focus on educating elementary students about the important rules and safety habits of the roadways and sidewalks. VPD’s Safety City program is eager to fill this gap and decrease incidences of injury and death among children across the city.
“We look forward to making a deep and lasting impact on children and families right here in Vancouver,” adds Cst Chow.
Thank you to Christian Chia, Versaterm Public Safety*, and ICBC’s Community Grants program for generously providing funding for Safety City.
VPD’s Bright at Night Program
In the dreary fall and winter months in Vancouver, poor weather and low light conditions are common on our roads, often making it extremely difficult for drivers to see pedestrians. Children are particularly vulnerable due to their smaller sizes and their lack of experience with traffic. The VPD’s Bright at Night program aims to reduce injuries and fatalities in Vancouver children by increasing their visibility at night through the use of reflective bracelets.
“These bracelets will promote awareness and education about pedestrian safety and the importance of keeping visible at night,” explains Cst Kathy Chan from VPDs Youth Services Sections, one of the program coordinators. “The intended impact would be to reduce motor vehicle incidents involving pedestrians caused by limited visibility at night when the bracelets are worn.”
The Bright at Night slap bracelets will increase the visibility of pedestrians by up to 500% during the dark evenings and early mornings. There will also be a designated space on the bracelets for the child’s emergency contact information. While this program was also delayed due to ongoing COVID-19 protocols, they look forward to launching this October.
“We will have 7,000 bracelets available free of charge this fall to prepare children and youth for the most dangerous time of year for pedestrians in Vancouver,” says Cst. Chan. “Keep an eye out for these bracelets to be distributed through the local Community Policing Centres, dozens of Vancouver elementary schools, and at local community events, when permitted as per COVID.”
With nearly 35,000 elementary-aged youth in Vancouver, both Safety City and Bright at Night will have an important impact on kids and families across Vancouver.
Thank you to our donors for making programs like this possible and helping keep children safe.
*Versaterm’s annual community donations program, where we proudly support our customer agencies during these challenging times. We recognize that in today’s world our communities are suffering and in need, and there are many programs available where we can offer assistance. Versaterm stands beside our policing partners, and our commitment to them will never waiver.