Lynn Valley’s record-breaking rain in October and evenings rendered even darker by the November 6 time change are two big reminders to walk, cycle and drive safely during the upcoming fall and winter months.

The North Van RCMP recently sent out a press release urging pedestrians to step up and ensure that they can be seen on dark streets. They partnered up with ICBC to give out personal safety reflectors at the Seabus on the morning of November 2, but if you missed that, a variety of low-cost reflective armbands, tags, and other items are available at stores like MEC and Canadian Tire.

Pedestrians are also strongly cautioned against texting or other cell phone use when walking through intersections or on roadways. (Distracted walking isn’t yet against the law, but the majority of Canadians think it should be!)

Drivers are reminded to be extra careful when turning right or left across a pedestrian crosswalk. Left turns are usually the most tricky, with drivers watching for oncoming traffic and not always being as attentive as necessary to pedestrians or cyclists crossing the road they are turning into.

However, there is a particularly bad right-hand turn in Lynn Valley, and that’s for cars turning right off of Mountain Highway on to Lynn Valley Road, by the Petro-Can gas station. Given the angle of the streets, drivers are often very slow to notice pedestrians about to step into the crosswalk, and we’ve often seen cars turning right and nearly hitting people who are crossing with the walk sign.

When it comes to crosswalks, pedestrians have to use common courtesies, too, and one of those is realizing that the flashing ‘count-down’ stop signals are not an invitation to take off from the curb to see if you can “beat the clock.” As soon as the walk signal changes to a flashing orange hand (with or without a countdown), pedestrians are to stay on the sidewalk and wait for their next opportunity to cross. Failure to do so can put them in harm’s way, as well as deny drivers any opportunity to turn on their green light.

The North Van RCMP recently launched a three-month campaign to increase awareness of, and adherence to, pedestrian regulations. They’ll be handing out educational pamphlets at first – but that could change to $109 infraction tickets.

There are more tips to be had, including these from ICBC. A few minutes spent paying attention now could make a huge difference to you or someone else in the dark days ahead.