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Pedestrian safety a top priority as part of October STEP initiative

Pedestrian safety will be in the spotlight throughout October as part of the Grande Prairie Enforcement Services’ Selected Traffic Enforcement Program.

Drivers around the city are being reminded to reduce their speed when approaching busy intersections as pedestrians may not be visible and their intent to cross may not be immediately noticed.

Enforcement Services Sgt. Ross Gear says while drivers are certainly responsible for creating a safe environment for themselves and pedestrians, here is an onus on pedestrians to keep good safety practices in mind as well. He adds that pedestrians can’t assume a driver seems them automatically, and little things, like trying to make eye contact can go a long way.

“Maybe I’m the class nerd, but I use them [pedestrian signals] all the time when I come to a crosswalk, I put my arm out, I check both ways and I make sure I get that drivers attention and I see the driver starting to slow.”

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Sgt. Gear adds seasonal changes in daylight during October and November and weather conditions can also make the connection between drivers and pedestrians more difficult. He adds a team effort must be made to create the safest conditions possible.

“If a person gets injured…or dies, it’s a terrible thing…[but] many times it’s completely preventable, and it’s preventable by changing our habits a little bit.”

The fine for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, or passing a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk is $776 and it carries four demerit points.

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