“Choose to Live. Cross Streets Safely” by Joan Y. Edwards
A video produced by the City of Escondido, California said that every seven minutes a pedestrian dies in the United States. This is sad. Very sad. Talk to your children, grandchildren, neighbors, and people of all ages. Let’s spread the word: Stop. Think. Look left, right, and left again. Cross at an intersection, not in the middle of the street. Cross the street only if the way is clear.
Cities that made efforts to make walking safer are:
- Atlanta, GA – Pedestrians Have the Right of Way campaign
- Blumenau, Brazil (Rotary Club) – Teaches respect for crosswalks – pick cars up and move them out of crosswalks.
- Charlotte, NC – Fine of $213 for jaywalkers
- Escondido, CA – Video showing difference wearing white at night makes
- Las Vegas, NV – They have tried the HAWK Intersection lights like those used in the United Kingdom for railroad crossings.
- Miami, FL – Walk Safe
- Richmond, VA – How to Cross the Street
- St. Albans – Stop. Think. Live.
It is sad that many people do not cross streets safely and one of them dies every seven minutes. If you and I can save one life, what a blessing that will be.
A mom with a baby in a stroller and two preschoolers crossed the street beside her or a dad carried one child on his shoulders and another child walked behind him as they went across the street. Both of these parents cross four lanes of traffic within sight of an intersection with a painted crosswalk. However, they thought it was too far to walk. It would take them too long. They were in a big hurry. Not only did these parents put their lives in danger, they also put their children’s lives in jeopardy. Their children learned unsafe habits from them.
Many drivers and walkers forget that all intersections have implied crosswalks. This means, even though there are no lines painted, pedestrians have the right of way at an intersection.
Two teenage boys crossed the street; one stopped and waited for traffic to go by. The other boy darted out to beat an approaching car. The statistics say that more boys are killed crossing the street than girls. Boys, this is not the time take a risk. Cross safely, so you can live.
An elderly man crossed the street at a crosswalk. He didn’t notice that two cars collided as they approached the intersection to his right. All pedestrians, young and old, need to watch to the left and right to make sure an out of control car isn’t going to hit them.
This is not just a problem in the United States, but in other countries as well. In a video from Brazil, Rotary Club members picked up a car that stopped in a crosswalk and moved it back out of the crosswalk. Probably every driver has inadvertently stopped in a crosswalk. Drivers need to be more careful when approaching an intersection. Watch for pedestrians. Slow down.
Hawk Beacon intersections light, similar to the railroad crossings used in the United Kingdom have helped in the areas that installed them. In Las Vegas before they installed the Hawk Beacon, one in three people jaywalked in that area. Afterwards it was one in eleven people jaywalked.
Please help your family and friends in your community think safety. Practice with your children. Cross at a designated crosswalk. Watch the lights. Even then, watch the traffic. Have eye contact with the drivers.
Schools, churches, and businesses can make a difference. Educate your people. Public safety videos and ads would make a difference. Perhaps if famous stars or sports figures showed the right way to cross a street, it would make a difference. If people from all races and nationalities make a pitch for safer walkers, it would make a difference. We want to save all of our people.
Many deaths happen at night because drivers can’t see the pedestrians dressed in black or dark clothing. That is scary. The Grace of God, good eyesight, and alert drivers and walkers keep the numbers from being higher. When walking in the late afternoon or night, wear white or reflective clothing and carry a blinking light so drivers can see you…so you can live.
The references in red are ones I believe you would especially enjoy.
What are you and your community doing to make walkers safe? Thank you for reading my blog. I appreciate you very much. Leave a comment.
- Atlanta PEDS Pedestrian Right of Way flyer called “What Drivers Must Know about Pedestrians (PDF)”
- Christine Cosgrove http://safetrec.berkeley.edu/newsletter/winter2006-07/crosswalkwhatyouknow.html
- Insurance Institute Highway Safety Organization. “Pedestrians.” http://www.iihs.org/research/qanda/pedestrians.aspx
- DO2Learn.com. Safety Songs and activities for Special Needs Kids http://www.do2learn.com/games/songs/streetsafety/songs.htm
- Kyle Potter. Las Vegas Review Journal. “Cars vs. People: Death Toll on Streets Alarming:” http://www.lvrj.com/news/cars-vs-people-death-toll-on-streets-alarming-166678286.html
- Lindsay Ruebens. The Charlotte Observer. “Deaths Highlight Pedestrian Danger:” http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/08/17/3459848/deaths-highlight-pedestrian-danger.html
- Lindsay Ruebens. The Charlotte Observer. “Jaywalking uptown? It could cost you $213:” http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/07/31/3416226/pedestrian-vehicle-incidents-spur.html
- Peoria, Arizona. “Hawk Crosswalk Demonstration and Explanation:” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEPlHLoXpTs
- Safekids USA http://www.safekids.org/educators/activities.html
- San Francisco, California Pedestrian Safety http://fog.ccsf.edu/~lfried/call/pedestriansafety.html
- Spot Devices. “Hawk Beacon System.”http://spotdevices.com/system-hawk.html?gclid=CK2Zvoij67MCFSXZQgod50EApw
- Walk Bike NC http://www.walkbikenc.com/category/safety
- Walking Info.org. Chart showing statistics from 1990-2009: http://www.walkinginfo.org/faqs/answer.cfm?id=31
- Walk Safe. Miami, Florida http://www.walksafe.us/
- Wendy Bumgardner. Walking About.com. “Top 12 Night Visibility Items:” http://walking.about.com/od/lights/tp/reflective.htm
- Wikipedia. “Hawk Beacon:” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HAWK_beacon
- City of Escondido, California. Video. “Be seen. Wear White at Night:” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFICRJ26ILU&feature=related
- Richmond. Video. “How to Cross the Street:” http://www2.richmond.com/news/2012/sep/11/rva-how-cross-street-video-out-ar-2196376/
- National Highway Safety Agency. Video. http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/willie/video.html
- National Highway Safety Agency Disney Chuggington. Video. : http://www.chuggington.com/safety/videos/
- Rotary Club of Blumenau, Brazil. Video. “Teaching Respect for Pedestrian Crossing:” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKWBDhTWiaU&feature=related
- St. Alban’s Campaign: “Stop. Think. Live.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBE66tFtKzo&feature=related
- Wake Forest University – Deacon Mascot Shows How Not to Cross the Street http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtDd19wmaAc
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Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2012 Joan Y. Edwards