Pedestrian fatalities are rising in California as more people use non-motorized means of transportation, according to the Santa Clara Police Dept. From 2011-2013, the Santa Clara Police Department investigated 146 fatal and injury collisions involving pedestrians. In 2012, California witnessed 612 pedestrian deaths that year while nationally 4,743 pedestrians were killed.
A national study reveals that pedestrians and drivers do not obey laws and signals consistently, says SCPD, and many often use cell phones, text and listen to music while walking or driving. Only 60 percent of pedestrians said they expected drivers to stop when they were in crosswalks, even though they have the right-of-way.
Here are some safety tips for both drivers and pedestrians.
- Look out for pedestrians, especially in hard-to-see conditions such as at night or in bad weather.
- Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or entering a crosswalk where pedestrians are likely to be.
- Stop at the crosswalk stop line to give drivers in other lanes an opportunity to see and yield to the pedestrians too.
- Be cautious when backing up – pedestrians, especially young children, can move across your path. See www.safercar.gov/parents/backover.htm.
- Be predictable. Follow the rules of the road, cross at crosswalks or intersections, and obey signs and signals.
- Walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible if there is no sidewalk.
- Pay attention to the traffic moving around you. This is not the time to be texting or talking on a cell phone.
- Make eye contact with drivers as they approach. Never assume a driver sees you.
- Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective materials (or use a flashlight) at night.
- Look left-right-left before crossing a street.
For more information on pedestrian safety, visit the California Dept. of Motor Vehicles, www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/about/pedestrian.