By Bronwyn Scott
Published: June 14, 2013
Shedding a little light can go a long way, and Bob Brant and other supporters of Be Bright @ Night are doing just that as their message to promote night time visibility gains momentum and supporters.
An inaugural meeting on May 23rd brought together members of various community groups and companies like Helping Hands, Republic Bikes and Crime Stoppers to discuss how to launch the initiative this fall.
The Squamish Trails Society, with Brant as its chairman, spearheaded the campaign in 2010, but had limited resources to realize its goal of creating a cultural awareness around nighttime visibility.
Although well intentioned, in its early days, Be Bright @ Night was little more than a tagline, according to Christina Moore, communications manager for the District of Squamish.
It was, however, a tagline that finally gained the support of the district, which became a supporter in December last year.
As a result of that partnership, reflective wristbands were given out to help promote the message. But even with the support of the district, engraining Be Bright @ Night into a cultural mindset was too great a feat.
“We don’t necessarily either have the resources to roll it out fully ourselves or necessarily the mandate, so we were looking for broader community communication or participation as we look towards expanding the program,” said Moore.
And so it came to be that on May 23rd over ten organizations would meet to discuss how to best spread the word.
“There was a lot of enthusiasm and energy as to [its] importance,” she said.
A focus of the meeting was to figure out how to spread the campaign community-wide and to find ways of engaging different groups.
“One big concern is, how do you get young people to put on a high-visibility vest? And is that really realistic?” asked Moore.
Reflective gear or reflective stickers on their bikes were suggested as alternatives.
Other points of discussion included how to measure the success of Be Bright @ Night after the fall launch, including what kinds of records might be gathered to help gauge its impact, and when exactly the fall launch will take place.
No date has been decided upon, but some suggestions were included early September, when kids are going back to school, Halloween, or timing it with daylight savings.
Better lighting on Squamish streets to aid visibility was also discussed, but it’s not likely that light installations will be on the agenda in the near future.
“[It] would certainly help, but that’s a really big budget item,” said Brant. “That’s probably a much longer term wish.”
For the time being, it is incumbent upon the public to wear bright clothing or have reflective attire or accessories, Brant said.
As for the best options for staying visible in low-light situation, he suggests a reflective vest is “by far and away” the best thing to wear.
“The next best is some sort of reflective armband or chest band, and certainly if you’re riding, a combination of lights, a taillight and headlight,” he said.
“I think the awareness is starting to creep in, we just need to keep up the awareness and spread that awareness around.”