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Crosswalk safety tips for drivers and pedestrians

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Some Road Worrier leftovers (see today's column, with reader comments, about drivers who make school crosswalks unsafe):

CROSSWALK SAFETY TIPS

Pedestrians:

Always use marked crosswalks.
Obey pedestrian signals. Look left-right-left.
Make eye contact with the driver.
Look before walking past stopped cars, to make sure other lanes are clear.

Drivers:

Observe school zone speed limits, and watch for pedestrians and cyclists.
Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and at corners.
Come to a complete stop if pedestrians are preparing to cross, and wait until they finish crossing.
Never pass another car that is slowing or stopped at a crosswalk.

Learn more at hsrc.unc.edu.

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Transportation equity

Not all modes of transportation are created with equal consideration. In this state, clearly, automobiles have priority over any other individual forms of transit.
As a result, we now have a situation where, pedestrians and cyclists, as a group, have higher rate of injury and death in proportion to the total number of participants than those who use automobiles.
You would think that biking and walking would, and should, be safer options. Afterall, they are going very slowly, and are not likely to kill themselves running into a telephone phone at 60 mph.
If there were not cars sharing the same access space that pedestrians and cyclists use, these ways of getting around are very safe. They are not safe in the company of cars.
This strikes me as as extremely unfair. What did pedestrians and cyclists do to deserve getting killed walking or riding along roads in NC? What crime have they committed? Why are they considered at fault when they cross a road outside of a crosswalk?
What gives the automobile priority in having access to places? If I want to walk or ride across I-40, I have to walk an extra 4-6 miles outside of my path to reach a bridge. And when I do, the situation is most inhospitable. It is windy, noisy (way above 80 dB), there is no shade, no place to stop and sit, no barriers to prevent a car from killing me.
While we now prize right of access in our disabilities law, we don't see to allot sufficient access to those who are not using cars. This is a civil rights issue.
The car is hindering my way to resources, places of work, places of worship, government buildings, courts, post offices, banks, recreation centers, and schools. The car is placing me, as a pedestrian or cyclist, at a real disadvantage, with higher risk than I would normally have without cars nearby.
The risk appears to me at epidemic levels relative to the population that walks or bikes. When are we as a state, as a nation, going to stop the slaughter and given the pedestrians and cyclists safe ways of access.
Measure the cortisol in the blood of a pedestrian or cyclist crossing the street. If the car doesn't kill me, the heart attack from assuming the risk will.

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About the blogger

Bruce Siceloff reports on traffic and transportation. A News & Observer reporter, editor and blogger since 1976, he took over the Road Worrier column in 2003. Lately he drives I-40 with the cruise control set at 68 mph. You can e-mail Bruce, call him at 919-829-4527, check out his Crosstown Traffic blog or follow him (@Road_Worrier) on Twitter.
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