If you were out and about in HRM today, you may have noticed some interesting looking pedestrians at crosswalks.
In response to a spike in vehicle/pedestrian collisions this month, HRM Partners in Policing tried a new pedestrian safety approach today. Blue, the HRP Crime Fighting Dog, as well as the RCMP Safety Bear were posted at various crosswalks around HRM. They crossed back and forth in the intersections while nearby traffic officers were ready to issue $687.41 tickets to motorists who failed to yield to pedestrians. The mascot costumes were worn by police officers to negate the typical, “But I didn’t see them!” excuse often given by motorists who fail to yield to pedestrians. Officers also educated pedestrians on how to safely cross the road, driving home the point that road safety is a shared responsibility.
“Earlier in the year, police focused heavily on education,” says Inspector Jeff Dowling of Halifax District RCMP. “With the number of pedestrians struck already at 23 for December, there have been cries for police to try something new. This type of approach has worked in other areas and we thought it could also work here in HRM.”
Halifax Regional Police Deputy Chief Bill Moore agrees. “What we’re hoping to do with this initiative is change the behaviour of both motorists and pedestrians through a combined education, awareness and enforcement approach,” explains HRP Deputy Chief Bill Moore. “We believe that road safety is a shared responsibility; when you have an aware pedestrian and an aware motorist, the odds of a collision all but disappear. Let’s stop the blame game, take responsibility for our personal safety and the safety of others and make sure we never have a spike like this again.”
You may see Blue and Safety Bear at other intersections in the coming days. Keep your eyes peeled!