Do you look before crossing the Street?

Nov 29, 2010 by Lisa Newton

I first saw this sign a few days ago. I don’t know about how most people were brought up, but I’ve been instilled to “look before I walk” since I was able to walk.

In fact, “Look both ways before you cross the Street,” is probably one of the first lessons a growing toddler learns. Of course, safety starts with the pedestrian, but how can the pedestrian be safe when often times it’s the drivers who refuse to stop.

How many times has this ever happened to you:

You’re standing at an intersection waiting for the walk light to change. After a few minutes, that friendly white guy appears, telling you it’s safe to walk across the street. You step off the curb, and just miss a car who is turning right, right in front of your face, ignoring your rights and your life.

Why doesn’t a red light mean stop?

The above scenario has happened to me repeatedly.

To be sure, many times I’ve been lucky to have avoided being hit by a motorist. The closest call happened downtown, right in front of the courthouse.

Along with 10 other pedestrians waiting for the light to change–all standing on the sidewalk–the light changed, and a reckless driver felt the need to turn on a red light, barely missing three of us who stepped into the crosswalk first.

What did the driver think we were going to do when the light changed? Wait for him to make his illegal right turn?

Instead of putting up posters educating pedestrians about a lesson they have probably already learned, why not pass a law that might save a few lives.

Recently, New Jersey did just that:

For the first time in more than a half-century, the rules of engagement between pedestrians, drivers and New Jersey crosswalks are about to change.

A revised law that takes effect today will require drivers to come to a complete stop as soon as a pedestrian enters a crosswalk. Previously, drivers were only mandated to yield, an ambiguous direction authorities say lead to one of the highest rates of pedestrian fatalities in the nation.

On Santa Monica Boulevard close to Bundy Drive, a once wide crosswalk now has blinking yellow lights installed, just for pedestrians.

Nonetheless, drivers totally ignore the pedestrian lights and keep driving, over and over again. In fact, one time when I saw the light change, pedestrians started to cross the street, and I stopped, but the car behind me started honking his horn. Pardon my French, but what an asshole!!

Here are a few pedestrian statistics (PDF) for you:

  • In 2008, 4,378 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States — a decrease of 16% from the 5,228 pedestrians killed in 1998.
  • On average, a pedestrian is killed in a traffic crash every 120 minutes and injured in a traffic crash every 8 minutes.
  • There were 69,000 pedestrians injured in traffic crashes in 2008. Most pedestrian fatalities in 2008 occurred in urban areas (72%), at non-intersection locations (76%), in normal weather conditions (89%), and at night (70%).
  • 25% of pedestrian deaths in 2009 occurred in crashes between 6:00pm and 9:00pm and 22% occurred between 9:00pm and midnight.
  • More than two-thirds (70%) of the pedestrians killed in 2008 were males. In 2008, the male pedestrian fatality rate per 100,000 population was 2.04 — more than double the rate for females (0.86 per 100,000 population). In 2008, the male pedestrian injury rate per 100,000 population was 24, compared with 21 for females.
  • Pedestrians (age 65+) accounted for 18% (803) of all pedestrian fatalities and an estimated 10% (7,000) of all pedestrians injured in 2008.
  • “In 2008, the fatality rate for pedestrians (age 65+) was 2.07 per 100,000 population – higher than for any other age group.”
  • In 2008, one-fifth (20%) of all children between the ages of 5 and 9 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians. Children age 15 and younger accounted for 7% of the pedestrian fatalities in 2008 and 22 percent of all pedestrians injured in traffic crashes.
  • 38% of the 316 young (under age 16) pedestrian fatalities occurred in crashes between 3:00pm and 7:00pm. Nearly one-half (48%) of all pedestrian fatalities occurred on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (16%, 18%, and 14%, respectively).
  • Alcohol involvement — either for the driver or for the pedestrian — was reported in 48% of the traffic crashes that resulted in pedestrian fatalities. Of the pedestrians involved, 36% had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher. Of the drivers involved in fatal crashes, only 13% had a BAC of .08 g/dL or higher, less than one-half the rate for the pedestrians. In 6% of the crashes, both the driver and the pedestrian had a BAC of .08 g/dL or higher.
  • The top 4 states for pedestrian fatalities are California, Florida, Texas, and New York. These four states make up 42% of pedestrian fatalities nationwide while only accounting for 30% of the total traffic fatalities across the country.
  • In urban areas, 53% of pedestrian deaths in 2009 occurred on roads with speed limits of 40 mph or less; in rural areas 27% of deaths occurred on such roads.

The bottom line is the Golden Rule when driving–treat other walkers as if you were the one walking.

Subscribe via RSSIf you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or bringing Travelin’ Local home with you via the RSS feed.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Go Green, Los Angeles, SoCal
No Responses to “Do you look before crossing the Street?”

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv Enabled