Attention focused on Road Safety Week from 19 to 25 November 2012

November 4th, 2012 by Living Streets Guernsey

Members of the Guernsey Bicycle Group with light-coloured reflective clothing gather to promote safe winter cycling (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

With the end of British Summer Time (BST) on 28 October 2012, the sun sets earlier in the afternoon and people travel more often during the hours of darkness.

All road users need to be very vigilant during the darker winter months.

Drivers need to slow down and watch for vulnerable road users, and pedestrians and cyclists need to make themselves visible by wearing bright fluorescent or reflective clothing.

The key to safe walking at night is to be bright, preferably by wearing a high visibility vest, or a jacket or at least light coloured clothing.

Reflective materials can be seen by drivers at night using headlights up to three times as far away as non-reflective materials.

Pat Wisher, Secretary of Living Streets Guernsey, said “too many pedestrians put their lives in danger by wearing black or dark clothing at night.

Guernsey’s narrow roads, blind bends, lack of footpaths and limited street lighting are a challenge for all road users at the best of times, but they can be lethal on a dark rainy night or in bad visibility. To be safe road users must be seen.

German road safety research has shown that while 75% of all driving is done during daylight hours, more than 50% of all fatal accidents happen during the hours of darkness.

Ninety percent of a driver’s reaction depends on vision, and vision is severely limited at night.

Even on well lit roads depth perception, colour recognition, and peripheral vision are compromised after sunset.

As well as wearing something bright or light, Living Streets reminds pedestrians that if there isn’t a footpath, they should walk on the side of the road facing the on-coming traffic.

The only exception is where there is a blind bend in which case you should cross the road carefully and then cross back again after the bend.

Never walk round a blind bend at night and never walk with your back to the traffic wearing black.

Pat Wisher said “I live in Torteval where there are virtually no footpaths and no street lighting. Those who don’t drive may not be aware that the headlights of vehicles coming towards a driver means that anything on your left is in shadow. So if a pedestrian is walking with their back to the traffic wearing dark clothes they become invisible.”

Research has shown that a driver travelling with dipped headlights at 40 mph has as little as 1.5 seconds to react to a hazard on the road.

This rises to three seconds on main beams.

(Please click image to go to the Brake Road Safety Charity website)

Road Safety Week, which is sponsored by Specsavers starts on 19 November 2012.

Living Streets is encouraging organisations to do a dress down day called “Bright Day” on Friday 23 November 2012.

This is to emphasise the dangers of walking or cycling wearing dark clothes.

Funds raised from the dress down days will be spent on high visibility items, which Living Streets Guernsey will give out free of charge to anyone who would like them.

Living Streets Guernsey would like to encourage the various media groups to also take part in “Bright Day”.

Bicycle safely during Guernsey's long winter nights by wearing high visibility jackets (and trousers) and employing bright front and rear lights (click image to expand - ©RLLord)


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