Pedestrian safety is everyone’s responsibility

(Via Ho’okele News)

Did you know that August is Hawaii’s Pedestrian Safety Month? Did you also know that Hawaii is the only state nationwide that has a Pedestrian Safety Month? The Hawaii Pedestrian Safety Month is five years old.

The Department of Transportation Walk Wise Hawaii Street Team and the Honolulu Police Department along with other sponsors and volunteers conducts several pedestrian safety events all month long, like sign waving, safety awareness walks, and conferences at schools, malls and other public areas.

Walking and jogging is a great way to exercise, meet new people, view the local sites and is an inexpensive way to travel. While you are out and about be sure to take the proper pedestrian precautions.

“People tend to think that pedestrian safety only matters when you are crossing the street or walking/ jogging in the street but that’s not all. We also need to be careful when passing driveways and in parking lots and parking structures.” said Miranda Caban JBPHH safety director.

“It doesn’t matter the direction arrows placed on the ground or on signs. Vehicles, bicycles included, can come from any direction,” Caban said.

“We all need to work together when it comes to pedestrian safety, because people of all ages could be affected and end up becoming a statistic,” Caban emphasized.

From 2003-2012, there were more than 47,000 fatalities nationwide and 262 of these fatalities were in Hawaii.

Tips for pedestrians

* Cross the street at a designated crosswalk.

* Cross only on proper signal.

* Look all ways before you cross. Ensure it is safe to cross before stepping off the curb.

* Make sure the driver comes to a complete stop before you step off the curb.

* Make eye contact with the driver to ensure they see you crossing the street. Even if one driver stops, do not assume drivers in the other lanes have stopped.

* Keep to the right side in the crosswalk.

* Be careful at intersections where drivers may fail to yield the right of way to pedestrians while turning onto another street.

* Cross the street at a well-lit crosswalk at night.

* Increase your visibility at night by carrying a flashlight and wearing reflective clothing.

* Walk/jog on a sidewalk, but if you must walk/jog in the street, face the traffic when you do.

* Never cross between cars, in front of hedges or other obstacles that impair the driver’s ability to see you cross or your ability to see a driver coming toward you.

* Remain alert. Avoid distractions like wearing headphones or talking on the phone while crossing.

* Maintain awareness to engine noise, back-up lights and emergency vehicle sirens on the street, in parking areas and in driveways.

* Be extra cautious when attempting to cross multiple lane roadways/highways and where higher speeds exist.

* Know that alcohol may impair your ability and judgment to walk safely on any roadway. If you are under the influence of alcohol, call a friend, a taxi or someone you know for assistance.

Tips for drivers

* You can encounter pedestrians anytime and anywhere—even in places where they are not supposed to be.

* Pedestrians can be very hard to see. This is especially true at night and in bad weather. Keep a constant lookout and drive extra slow if you can’t see clearly.

* As you near a crosswalk area, drive slowly and be prepared to stop suddenly.

* Stop for pedestrians who are in a crosswalk. When stopping for these pedestrians, stop well before the crosswalk so that drivers in adjacent lanes can also see the pedestrians crossing and come to a stop as well.

* Never overtake a vehicle or pass a stopping vehicle because the driver may be stopping for a crossing pedestrian.

* At intersections, you may be waiting for the opportunity to make a left or right turn. Be sure that you are constantly looking out for crossing pedestrians who may be rushing to cross the street.

While driving, be especially attentive and cautious near and around schools, neighborhoods and in parking lots.

For more information on the Hawaii Pedestrian Safety events go to Walk Wise Hawaii on Facebook or on line to Hawaii DOT at http://ow.ly/Aj0Qu

For further assistance, contact the JBPHH Safety Department at 473-1169.

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