BY KELLY ROCHE
The cyclist with the earbuds had to remove them to hear why he was stopped at one of the city’s most treacherous intersections Wednesday afternoon.
But police weren’t writing tickets.
Officers from the road safety and crime prevention units were handing out reflective arm bands at Hurontario St. and Dundas St. as part of their back to school initiative.
“If you’ve ever been in that area, you know how congested it can get,” said Peel Regional Police Const. Heather Cannon.
The busy transit hub is known for its hazards, whether on foot, in a vehicle, or riding two wheels.
Jordan Ovejas lives nearby and said he cycles “pretty much most of the time.”
He was given an armband for wearing a helmet.
Ovejas said he’s faced an array of obstacle courses while navigating.
“Sometimes (drivers) are not aware,” he said.
In other cases, pedestrians are the ones posing challenges.
“I’m coming behind them, I’m ringing my bell,” said Ovejas, adding he feels safer cycling on the road versus the sidewalk.
With five pedestrian deaths this year, “that’s five too many,” said Cannon.
The rollout of the ‘zombie pedestrian’ campaign has police monitoring busy intersections and encouraging all road users to be extra vigilant around school zones, intersections, crosswalks and bus stops.
A bus stop is where Const. Joel Genoe educated a middle-aged man on the virtues of using a crosswalk instead of darting across Dundas. The man thanked him.
“The arm band gives us a chance to engage,” said Genoe.
With Hurontario’s six lanes, 50 km/h speed limit, and pedestrians randomly dashing out and getting stranded halfway, “it’s not a good place to be,” Genoe said.
Even if people cross at the lights, paying attention to surroundings is key, said Cannon, since fiddling with devices or listening to music can make someone an easy target in the eyes of a criminal.
Overall, police were pleased with what they saw Wednesday.
“Most people seem to be paying attention,” said Const. Courtney Carver-Smith.
2014 BY THE NUMBERS
-576 pedestrians hit
(Source: Peel Regional Police)