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Pedestrian Safety


Pedestrian Safety

If you enjoy walking through beautiful Orange County, you’re not alone. We walk for exercise, to do errands, to visit friends, and to get to work. By leaving the car at home, we help ourselves and the environment.

Most walks are safe and uneventful. Unfortunately, collisions happen. In 2013, according to the National High Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,735 pedestrians were killed in crashes, more than 12 people every day of the year. There were also 69,000 reported pedestrian injuries, nearly one injury every eight minutes. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, one out of every four fatal traffic crash victims in Orange County is a pedestrian.

On Monday, January 26, 2015 Paul Zykofsky of the Local Government Commission presented at OCTA Headquarters during a pedestrian safety workshop. You can see his presentation here. The presentation was followed by a roundtable discussion about education, engineering and enforcement activities to improve pedestrian safety throughout Orange County.

Don’t be a statistic. Practice smart, safe walking using the accompanying resources.

Safety Tips for Smart Walks

Safety rules and tips
Know the law

Cyclists have a legal right to share the road. That privilege comes with responsibilities. Understand the laws governing traffic safety, safe riding procedures, bike equipment, and more.

Pedestrians must care for their own safety.

That means no jumping off a curb or other place of safety to walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.

Cross the street carefully.

Stop and look both ways. If possible, make eye contact with drivers. Do not start crossing until you know that the motorist can see you and is stopping.

Walk defensively at crosswalks.

Crosswalks convey a false sense of security. You are not physically protected by the crosswalk. Don’t assume that a car will stop at a crosswalk or elsewhere, even though the driver is required by law to do so.

Cross with a group.

This provides greater safety because groups are easier to see than individuals.

Be visible.

Wear bright or reflective clothing. Stay in well-lit areas. Carry a flashlight when walking at night.

Be alert.

Remove the phone or headset. Be alert to engine noise and backup lights. Walk soberly and carefully.

Behave predictably.

Don’t weave in and out of parked cars or dart into the street unexpectedly.

Understand and follow traffic symbols.

Cross when you see the figure of a pedestrian. When the flashing orange hand appears, use caution; do not start into the crosswalk, but continue to the other side if you are already in it. Is the orange hand glowing with a steady light? This means stop. Do you see a green, yellow, or red arrow? These convey information to motorists regarding right turns. They tell walkers NOT to enter the roadway.

Know the law.

Just like motorists and cyclists, pedestrians must follow rules and regulations.

Bike lanes are for bikes.

No walking in bike lanes if there is an adjacent pedestrian walkway. Walk on the sidewalk if one is available.

Walk facing traffic.

If you must walk on the street, walk facing traffic on the left as far away from traffic as possible.

Respect motor vehicles.

It’s no secret that cars and trucks are much larger and faster than pedestrians. Consider that they need time to respond when they see a walker. At 30 miles per hour, a driver needs at least 90 feet to stop on dry level pavement, and more if the road is wet or slippery.


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