Bright idea! Cops give reflective tape to seniors so cars won’t hit them

Bright idea! Cops give reflective tape to seniors so cars won’t hit them
Photo by Steve Solomonson

It’s Vision Zero for drivers with zero vision!

Sheepshead Bay police officers are giving neighborhood seniors reflective tape to put on their canes so drivers will not hit them, according the 61st Precinct’s second-in-command, who said the move is in response to a recent spike in pedestrian fatalities.

“We have a large elderly community. I had my traffic cops, they put reflective tape over some of the elderlies — their canes, their walkers, stuff like that — to actually help them during the darker hours where maybe cars may not be able to see them,” according to Captain Jason Hagestad.

The move is part of Mayor DeBlasio’s “Vision Zero” traffic-safety program, according to Hagestad.

Cops are also reminding oldsters to look both ways and always cross in crosswalks, according to Officer Tom “Tommy Traffic” Teehan, who recently brought the shiny tape to the Sheepshead Bay Happyhouse Adult Day Care Center.

The tape is a measure of comfort, according to one 79-year-old from the Avenue U center.

“I feel more safe than before,” Shukuan Chen said through a translator. “Very happy.”

Drivers have hit and killed four people, mostly seniors, in the 61st Precinct this year — up from just one fatal pedestrian crash this time last year, according to police. In many cases, it was the walkers’ fault, according to Hagestad.

“A lot of the vehicles haven’t really been at fault in a lot of these. A lot of it’s been pedestrian error,” he said, acknowledging that the crashes are still tragedies. “That’s why I’m trying to promote this awareness for the members of the community. Never assume the driver will see you.”

The precinct is also passing out traffic-safety fliers to the general public, too, he said.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.