For the second year in a row, the Vancouver Police Foundation is proud to fund a grassroots VPD safety initiative for Vancouver cyclists called Light the Night Right. Led by Constable Christina Dueck of VPD’s Traffic Section, Light the Night Right provides unlit cyclists with front and rear bike lights, as well as reflective decals to stick to their bike frame. Not only does this initiative provide safety equipment at no cost to cyclists, it also creates opportunities for VPD officers to engage with Vancouver cyclists in an encouraging, interactive manner.
“Our goal with this initiative is to increase cyclists’ safety, especially at dusk and after dark, and also to create meaningful moments of positive interaction between police officers and cyclists,” explains Christina. “While we are offering awareness, education and safety equipment, we are also careful not to lecture. We are there to be a positive presence, to have a conversation about safety and provide bike safety equipment to those who need it and want to take it.”
Light the Night Right launched in summer 2022 when they set up their first pop-up event along the Beach Avenue seawall on a busy summer night. More than 160 bike lights were handed out to cyclists that evening. Project 529 was also on-hand and successfully registered 50 bikes into their program as well.
“We are excited to provide both front and rear lights which are exceptionally bright and high-quality,” adds Christina. “And the reflective decals we offer are available in different colours, shapes, and sizes so cyclists can select something that fits their style and personality.”
Thanks to additional funding from the VPF in 2023, Light the Night Right was able to expand to additional locations and provide even more lights and reflective decals to Vancouver cyclists totally free of charge. So far this year, Christina and her team have held pop-up events on the Arbutus Greenway near 45th Avenue and on the Adanac cycling route near Woodlands Park in the Commercial Drive area. Both were very successful with more than 220 bike lights and 100 reflective decals provided to cyclists.
Christina was especially impressed by the number of cyclists on the Adanac route who were already very well lit. For those already using bike lights and reflectors, she and her team still used it as an opportunity to have a positive conversation and offer to get their bike registered through Project 529.
“The message we are trying to convey is that want you to enjoy your ride, we want you to be safe doing it, and we are here to help you be more visible to others if you’d like,” explains Christina.
What they discovered over the last two years is that many cyclists they speak to are initially surprised that VPD officers are there to help, not hinder, their ride. “Most people are surprised to see us out there directly helping and handing out safety gear. They find it hard to believe there’s no catch and that what we are offering is 100% free to them.” Needless to say, there have been positive reactions from cyclists all around.
“We want to help people continue to do what they love, whether it’s riding a bike or a scooter, and we want to help them be as safe as they can be.”
The Vancouver Police Foundation supports programs and initiatives that fall under one of four pillars: Youth Programs, Mental Health & Addictions, Community Outreach & Engagement, and Technology & Special Equipment. You can help build a safer Vancouver by donating to the Vancouver Police Foundation.