On average, a pedestrian is injured in a traffic collision every eight minutes nationwide. Most pedestrian injuries occur as the result of the inattentiveness of motorists and the failure of pedestrians to use crosswalks, combined. Additionally, the failure of both pedestrians and motorists to obey traffic signals can cause a fatality. By taking basic precautions and being aware of one’s surroundings, the likelihood of an unnecessary collision can be dramatically reduced.
As a pedestrian, it is your responsibility to make yourself visible and avoid dangerous behavior and situations. When possible, utilize the sidewalk; if not available, you should walk against the flow of traffic. Always obey crossing signals, but make sure to look both ways before crossing into the street. Even if you have the right of way, it is important to realize that vehicles may not always stop. Make eye contact with drivers and pay attention to the environment around you. If you are wearing headphones or talking on your cell phone while crossing the street, it is important to pay attention to your surroundings and take extra care to avoid dangerous situations.
It is important for drivers to be aware of crossing pedestrians at all times, whether they are in marked or unmarked crosswalks. Obey the posted speed limit and always be prepared to stop for pedestrians who may not see or hear you. It is also the driver’s responsibility to maintain a safe speed when driving through residential and school areas. You should always avoid aggressive driving and never pass a vehicle that is stopped at a pedestrian crosswalk. When turning, make sure to be alert for pedestrians and give them the right-of-way. It is common for pedestrians to enter the crosswalk while you are waiting for a gap in traffic.
Bicyclists share the responsibility of being both a pedestrian and a vehicle. When on a pathway, a bicyclist takes on the role of a pedestrian. Even as a pedestrian you must travel at a safe speed, follow posted signs, and yield to other pedestrians. When traveling on roads a bicyclist is considered a vehicle and must obey the same traffic laws as other motorists. It is illegal to wear headphones while riding your bike because it can impair your senses. Additionally, if you bicycle while intoxicated you will be held to the same standards as other motorists and may be issued a DUI.
Unlike bicycles, skateboarders must always act as pedestrians. This means skateboarders must take care and yield to other pedestrians while maintaining a safe speed. In some areas skateboarding is prohibited, so it is important to be aware and follow the posted laws. Since skateboards are not considered vehicles, skateboarders cannot ride in the street. If you are caught riding a skateboard in the street you may be issued a ticket.
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