Heads Up when Walking, Biking, & Driving

The City of Vernon is reminding everyone to take care of each other on our roads as warmer weather arrives and more people are walking and cycling around our community. 

Tips for Everyone

Drivers should keep their heads up for people walking and riding bikes at all times, especially near bike lanes or pathways, downtown, and even more so in low light. Take a moment to check for cyclists before you open your car door, especially on busy downtown streets. 

Wearing bright or reflective clothing while you walk will make you more visible. Don’t forget Fido – reflectors or lights on their collar will help keep your four-legged friends safe. It’s best to walk facing traffic when you are on a street with no sidewalks.

Our multi-use pathways can get busy in the summer months. Whether you are walking, biking, scootering, or skateboarding, be courteous to others and keep to the right except to pass. When you need to pass someone on your bike, scooter, or skateboard, let them know by ringing your bell or saying 'on your left.'

Here are more tips to stay safe no matter how you get around our city:

When Driving
  • Be alert for people walking and cycling at all times, especially at intersections, crosswalks, downtown and even more so in low light or poor weather.
  • Turn with care. Drivers most often strike someone walking or biking while they are making a turning movement. Always shoulder check before turning right and watch for people walking and biking across through the intersection when you turn left.
  • Pass safely. You should give people on bikes a wide berth, ideally changing lanes to pass them. Be aware that cyclists may manoeuvre unexpectedly to avoid hazards like gravel, potholes, or puddles.
  • Pay attention. Avoid distractions, focus on driving.
  • Make eye contact with others on the road.
  • Watch for vehicles slowing down around you. They may be stopping for someone to cross the street. 
  • Heads-up at intersections. Follow traffic lights, not the flashing hand or countdown signal. Pedestrian signals aren’t always timed to the light.
  • Open your door with care. 'Dooring' happens when someone opens their car door without looking and strikes a cyclist. 
When Walking
  • Be lit. Wearing bright or reflective clothing will make you more visible. Don't forget Fido - a reflective collar or light will help keep your furry friends safe, too. 
  • Cross with care. Make eye contact with drivers and wait until traffic has stopped in both directions before you cross. Use crosswalks and intersections to cross the street. Don't jaywalk. 
  • Look both ways. Don’t start to cross on a flashing hand. Countdown timers tell you how long you have left to cross.
  • Pay attention. Avoid distractions like texting and listening to loud music.
  • Be predictable. It's best to walk facing traffic in places where there is no sidewalk. 
  • Be mindful of others when using multi-use pathways or trails and listen for bike bells. When someone rings their bell it means they are going to pass you. 
When Biking
  • Be bright. Use a strong white headlight and red taillight. Wearing white, bright, or reflective clothing will make you more visible.
  • Be predictable. Ride on the right but leave enough room to avoid hazards like debris or car doors without swerving. This usually means riding at least one metre from the curve. 
  • Be assertive. If there is no bike lane or shoulder and the road is narrow you may 'take the lane' by riding in the centre of the lane. This will keep you out of other's blind spots and prevent unsafe passing. 
  • Be mindful of intersections and driveways. Make eye contact with drivers before you proceed, and watch out for people in crosswalks. 
  • Pay attention. Shoulder check regularly and watch out for car doors.
  • Prepare for the weather. Year-round cycling means taking extra care in slippery conditions. Plan for sudden weather changes and be prepared to adjust your route and speed. Watch out for wet leaves and icy patches, especially on cold mornings. Consider switching to studded winter tires during the winter months. 
  • Be kind. Multi-use paths are used by many different people who may be slower than you and are not a good place to blast a full speed. If you want to sprint, use the road or bike lane. 
  • Wear a helmet. It's the law.

For more information about cycling safety, visit www.bikesense.bc.ca.