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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

 New Reflective Backpack by Bright Ideas
   Community Group Looks Out For Kids’ Safety with a Be Seen, Be Safe Backpack Giveaway

Excelsior Action Group (EAG) is an economic and community development organization in San Francisco's diverse Excelsior District, where more than half of the residents are foreign-born and there are more families with young children than in any other part of the city. Pedestrian collisions were at a record high in San Francisco in 2013 and EAG has responded by ramping up efforts to make the Excelsior safer for walking, such as with the Be Seen, Be Safe Backpack Giveaway.

This event was a partnership between a local youth organization, city agencies, and EAG, and provided 150 reflective backpacks to local students. These backpacks were purchased from through a grant from State Farm and feature reflectors on the back, sides, and straps, allowing wearers to be seen from 360 degrees. Reflectors can quadruple the distance at which pedestrians can be spotted by car drivers. Because backpacks are worn almost daily, there is no need to put on any special gear or remind children to use it, making this a smart safety item. In addition, backpacks are items that many working-class parents in the Excelsior neighborhood have trouble affording; therefore, this project was able to address both educational and safety needs at once.

For health and environmental reasons, children are being encouraged to walk and bike to and from school or afterschool programs. However, many commute in the dark during the winter months, or travel during rainy or foggy weather, when visibility is poor. This is the time that pedestrian collisions increase significantly—up to seven times—making it imperative that efforts are made to improve drivers’ ability to see them. This is especially true for the many children that walk home by themselves, facing high-risk intersections and heavy traffic.
The event was part of Excelsior Action Group’s “Be Seen, Be Safe” program which provides free reflectors and bike lights at events throughout the year, and raises awareness of the importance of wearing reflective material for improved visibility. For more information or to make a donation to this important program, please visit 0 Comments


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