Pedestrians and Cyclists: Don’t fade into the background!

It was glorious weather today! After enduring the latest winter that I can recall (and I have always lived in Calgary), I felt that today’s superb weather was our reward for our patience. It felt like heaven today, in my opinion, with a high of 26, sun and no wind. At 10 p.m., when I drove to the drugstore, it was still 20 degrees. Driving ahead of me, was a young male cyclist on a black bicycle.  He was dressed in a dark t-shirt, black shorts and wearing a black helmet. His image was almost impossible to make out in the disappearing twilight. He pulled up beside my vehicle as I stopped at a light, and I couldn’t resist rolling down my side window and telling the well-groomed, young man, who looked about my son’s age: “You should wear something reflective. You are almost invisible. At least wear a white t-shirt. It would be safer.” He responded: “OK. Thank you.”

I also couldn’t stop myself from writing this blog and harping on a theme I’ve focused on in my Facebook entries. Please give yourself a fighting chance when the warm weather beckons and you are out walking or cycling, as the sky darkens into dusk or night! Black (or other dark colors – even red looks black in the dark) may be fashionable and slimming, but they are foolish colours to wear after dark, if you value your life. Carry a white t-shirt with you to change into before walking or cycling. Or, if you must wear a dark colour, wear a dark top with reflective strips (I’ve seen inexpensive activewear with reflective strips sold locally or online by retailers such as Joe Fresh, Gap etc.). You can also attach a clip-on light to your clothing. All of these are easy to find.

Also keep in mind that accident reconstruction studies document that, as drivers age (I don’t mean just seniors, even just drivers about 40 and over), it becomes increasingly difficult to see other objects at the same distance as younger drivers can spot them. Also, who is to say that a driver is wearing a proper eyewear prescription or if the driver is impaired or distracted? You may be spotted by a driver at the last moment, and your life may be saved if there is a reflective strip on your clothing or if the colour you are wearing makes you stand out at the critical moment. When you are cycling, walking beside a road or crossing a road, the only clothing that matters is clothing that makes you stand out!  Dressing cool, dressing slimmer, being cool, or trying not to stand out because you’re shy, are irrelevant desires near motor vehicles. By all means, get out and enjoy the perfect weather.  But, remember that your life can depend on not fading into the background!

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