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Be Predictable and Courteous

I was cleaning out some old files preparing for the launch of our newly remodeled website and came across this blog post. Even though it’s more than three years old it contains some great information that never gets old. Enjoy!

January 29, 2015

…People ask me all the time how we can stop these senseless crashes from happening! The short answer is: be predictable and courteous… and that’s everyone. If pedestrians only crossed at corners, intersections and marked mid-block crossings they would be safer, not safe, but safer. And if drivers stopped for pedestrians when they are crossing the street where they belong, fewer crashes would happen. More importantly, if drivers stopped, you’d see a lot more people on foot use crosswalks and corners…

What came first, drivers being rude or pedestrians behaving badly? It’s I’m way past knowing the answer to that one, but the result of everyone’s actions is very evident: dead bodies.

Clark County, like many post WWII cities, was created for vehicles, laid out on a grid where arterials are a mile apart. The county has many long streets with big, wide lanes that make it so comfortable to speed; and so easy to get into the “zone”, that pedestrians not actually IN the street, are never seen, and when they are seen in the middle of the street, cars are traveling so fast that it is truly impossible to stop in time.

We have high speed limits at the base and most people feel it’s required to travel at least 10 miles over the speed limit to be safe… and speed truly kills pedestrians; and a fair share of vehicle occupants too. So, first thing for everyone’s safety is to SLOW DOWN! Give yourself plenty of time to get where you are going so you are not tempted to speed, run red lights, tailgate…all things we have issues with in Las Vegas!

Another ongoing distraction is cell phones and electronic devices.

Drivers and pedestrians are far too distracted to be safe on the road. How did we ever live before we were wired to all our friends via the cell phone? What a long leash it has become; anyone can reach us at any hour of the day… and they do. Pay full attention to the business of driving or walking (or biking) and make sure you are watching the other guy…

While on that subject, make sure the other guy can see you too!

A pedestrian crossing a wide, flat, fast and DARK street in dark clothing is another huge issue in our town.

  • As a pedestrian, light yourself up at dawn, dusk and dark.
  • Wear white and bright clothing to be seen during the day and add lights, preferably that strobe
  • When visibility is less, including rainy days.

Pedestrians also need to understand how long it takes a car traveling at 40 miles per hour to stop for them…

By the time they see you, a driver will travel almost 100 yards, or a football field before he actually is able to stop. Cars travel at 66 feet per second at 40 MPH, and there is quite the process of brain to foot to brake and stopping distance involved… just trust me!

As we approached November last year.

We were having a bad but not terrible year for pedestrians in Clark County; while doing an interview on Halloween safety, I reported 30 pedestrian fatalities in our town. On November 17, not three weeks later, the total was 45. How did we kill half as many people as all year in 18 days? I can’t answer that question; but if you walk, you’d better have an idea of how it is possible we went from roughly one a week, to almost one a day.

Prior to the November massacre, our year was pretty typical too, sadly, about 75 percent of fatalities were pedestrian error and half of injuries; then we hit Halloween and suddenly drivers were drunk, impaired and losing control at high speeds; they were running red lights and they were not sticking around to answer for their actions. Just some of the examples that even when those on foot are doing everything right, it is still 100 percent on them to make sure they get safely home. Never assume cars see you or will stop for you if they do. Eye contact is critical, even at a signal with the light!

So here is this pedestrian advocate’s plea for 2015:

  • Watch out for each other!
  • Pedestrians use your brain before your feet: is there a safer way to cross the street and not cause you any extra steps? Just because you see it does not mean the sight travel should be the foot travel!
  • And for heaven’s sake, light yourself up!
  • And drivers, quit being such bullies! Just because you can doesn’t mean you should! Yes, you can turn right on a green, but is there a pedestrian (with superior right-of-way) crossing? On a permissive left turn are you looking for pedestrians or worse, daring them to be in your way? Again, they have the right-of-way.

Obviously, there are many contributing factors involved in an issue this complex. The bottom line is, to save lives, we all must do the right thing, Drivers AND Pedestrians,

 “Be Ped Safe”!

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