Pedestrian safety is a growing concern. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reports that pedestrian deaths are on the rise, with thousands of people killed each year. Safeguarding vulnerable pedestrians is a responsibility of each driver. Drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians who have the right of way are a common cause of many tragic incidents. In fact, Halloween is the deadliest night for pedestrians.
Designed with Pedestrians in MindThe physical environment impacts how much and how safely residents can walk. In studies comparing communities with suburban sprawl (few sidewalks and inaccessible pedestrian destinations) to traditional communities (with plentiful sidewalks and walkable downtowns), researchers found there were three times as many pedestrian trips in the communities designed with pedestrians in mind.
Safe EnvironmentsTo create safe pedestrian environments, a growing number of communities are implementing measures to make their environments more walkable. These actions range from including sidewalks on all newly constructed streets, to implementing widespread traffic-calming measures.
Safe Walking TipsWhile communities are catching up, pedestrians themselves must be mindful of the rules of the road and protect themselves and their loved ones. Here are a few tips to enjoy your walk safely:
- Look “left – right – left”
Train yourself and your loved ones (particularly children) to look left-right-left before crossing streets. Young children should always cross the street with an adult.
- Cross only at Designated Crossings
Entering traffic mid-block or from between parked cars is dangerous, and never dart out into traffic.
- Stick to Sidewalks
Walk on the sidewalk whenever possible.
- Stay Alert and Vigilant
Don’t be distracted by talking on your cell phone or wearing earbuds. Be on the lookout for cars entering or exiting driveways or backing up in parking lots.
- Be Visible
When walking at nighttime, always wear bright and/or reflective clothing and carry a flashlight so drivers can see you.