Crosswalk safety is something that we all want to have and so we all must work to ensure the safety of pedestrians. We must also be aware of the cost related to drivers who are involved in accidents. This month a driver hit a 17-year-old girl as the girl was using the crosswalk on Center Street near Zions Bank. The injuries to the pedestrian were very serious and the impact on the driver has been life changing.
Center Street has four pedestrian crossings. This street is as wide as State Street. The only crossing that is protected by signaling is the school crossing before and after school. Center Street is wide, traffic speed allowed is 35 miles per hour, and there is not a protected area in the middle of the street. It is important that those walking these crosswalks do so with care.
The city has been looking at ways in which we can increase the safety of crosswalks. People have suggested signs that flash lights or can be turned on by pedestrians. Additional road painting is also a consideration. All crosswalks in the city have roadside signs pointing to the crosswalk that exists. Have you noticed these signs as a driver or a pedestrian? Do you consider this sign a warning? The city can install flashing lights, road signals, and other expensive equipment but if drivers and pedestrians do not pay attention, such additions will not help.
We must realize that in the age of electronics many of us spend more time texting and talking than we do looking around us. Distracted drivers are a danger. Distracted walkers are also dangerous. Each of these groups put themselves at risk as well as others. Cell phones and driving and cell phones and walking are not safe. Safety must be a commitment we all accept when we are driving or walking.
We need to educate our children on how to use a crosswalk safely, how to watch and how to wait. As drivers, we need to be aware of crosswalk signs. We, as pedestrians, need to be as careful in the crosswalk as we would be if there were no crosswalk. When crossing any street, make sure that the driver looks at you. As you move to the next lane make sure that the driver in that lane looks at you and stops for you. The eye contact in each lane assures the pedestrian that they have been seen and that the driver will stop to keep them safe. Each lane is like a new road. On Center or State Street it is like crossing four roads. Be careful and be sure that cars see you so they will stop. Drive and walk safely and carefully.