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Principles of Pedestrian Safety

October 18, 2018

Whenever cars and pedestrians share the road, drivers should be reminded to watch out for people. Drivers who are turning right sometimes only check left before turning, which creates a dangerous situation for pedestrians. Here are basic concepts to keep in mind about pedestrian safety at schools, apartment complexes, and other large public places.

Pedestrian Injury Statistics

Pedestrian safety should be a top public priority because, despite improved safety measures, accidents and fatalities still occur. A 2017 report by the Governors’ Highway Safety Association found pedestrian deaths rose 11%, setting a record for the biggest-ever increase in pedestrian fatalities.

Experts believe this uptick paralleled the increase in vehicles on the road. Another cause of these accidents may that drivers are distracted by smartphones. Pedestrians are also distracted by smartphones, and can also be distracted by music on headphones. The report revealed that pedestrian deaths accounted for 15% of all traffic deaths.

Another significant figure is that 74% of all pedestrian fatalities occurred at night. Drunk drivers are responsible for 15% of pedestrian deaths each year. By contrast, one third of pedestrians killed by drivers are themselves legally drunk.

Tips to Raise Pedestrian Awareness

Schools, perhaps more than any other type of organization, regularly attract pedestrians who walk for various reasons, such as good exercise, close proximity to home and environmental reasons. Here are some reminders for pedestrians to think about safety:

  • Use crosswalks
  • Look both ways
  • If there is no sidewalk, walk on the edge of the road facing traffic
  • If wearing headphones, make sure you can still hear sirens

Keeping Traffic Speed Under Control

One of the most effective ways to increase pedestrian safety and deaths is to manage traffic flow. A pedestrian has an 80% chance of being killed if struck by a car moving 40 miles per hour, yet only a 10% chance of dying if struck by a vehicle moving at 20 mph. Posting signs that warn drivers of pedestrian safety is essential.

These signs can remind drivers to watch out for people on foot:

  • Pedestrian Crossing
  • Caution Slow Down
  • School Zone
  • Slow Children Crossing
  • Pedestrian Walkway
  • Pedestrian Traffic Only

Pedestrian warning signs must be fluorescent yellow/green. This bright color is used because it attracts instant attention, especially in areas where drivers may not expect pedestrians. All traffic signs posted on public property must be compliant with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

The best way to increase pedestrian safety is with bright signage and clear messaging. For more information about how you can increase pedestrian safety, contact Zumar at their Arizona, California or Washington location.

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