Cycling groups distribute lights, reflectors

Expect to see more lights on the road this month in the Comox Valley.

This month you can expect to see a lot more lights on the road.

The Comox Valley Cycling Task Force has partnered with the Comox Valley Cycling Coalition to distribute free lights for cyclists and reflectors for pedestrians to low-income individuals and families in the Comox Valley.

With the season nearing the shortest day of the year, visibility on the roads is especially important during the winter.

“The Cycling Coalition receives a lot of feedback on how to improve the safety of cyclists,” says James Taylor, cycling coalition president. “Visibility is an often-cited concern by motorists. We wanted to introduce a program that would improve the safety of cyclists and motorists who share the roads.”

The Comox Valley is not alone in the effort to raise the visibility of our more vulnerable road users.

Sidney recently launched a Glow as you Go program funded by the Town, the Victoria Airport Authority, the RCMP and ICBC. Where the Sidney program focused on pedestrian safety through the distribution of reflectors, the Comox Valley is also distributing front and rear lights to cyclists.

The RCMP supports the program, noting, “This time of year, cyclists are especially vulnerable with the darker days and longer nights. Visibility is crucial to assist in the prevention of collisions.

“Lights are not only a necessity when travelling on the roadways in the dark, but is also the law. Those who cannot afford proper lights will benefit greatly, as will the rest of the travelling community.”

Two hundred sets of lights and 200 reflectors will be distributed. The lights and reflectors will be made available through a number of services such as the CV Head Injury Society, the CV Aboriginal Head Start, the CV Accessibility Committee, St. George’s Church, AHERO (Ad Hoc Emergency Resources Organization), LUSH Valley, Salvation Army, the RCMP and will be distributed to residents at the Maple Pool Campsite.

The program is aimed at low-income individuals, although there will be no screening criteria.

“We hope that people who can afford reflectors and lights will purchase them from one of our many retailers,” notes Jim Gillis, Comox Valley Cycling Task Force chair. “They make a great stocking stuffer for anyone who walks or cycles, even for pets!”

A number of cycling retailers will offer a 10-per-cent discount on lights for the month of December including Black’s Cycles, the Broken Spoke, Mountain City Cycle, Simon’s Cycles and Trail Bicycles.

Dodge City Cycles is donating five per cent of all store proceeds for the month of December to the Cumberland Community Forest Society to purchase and protect forested lands for ecological and recreation amenities, such as bike trails.

The Cycling Task Force notes that there are a number of tips to staying safe on the roads over the winter season including wearing high visibility and warm clothing, rain gear, following the rules of the road and communicating clearly to other road users.

For more information on winter riding and other tips visit the Cycling Task Force website at www.courtenay.ca/cycling.aspx.

— Comox Valley Cycling Task Force

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