This past weekend, the city of San Mateo was the site of a deadly crash in which a vehicle reportedly struck a pedestrian who was attempting to get across the street. Because of that, the police department of that city is attempting to spread the word about the importance of pedestrians taking the proper precautions when they’re crossing.
The latest effort comes on the heels of a summer in which San Mateo traffic officers oversaw multiple public meetings. A police sergeant notes that the department is particularly concerned about a recent trend wherein seniors are the victims of these types of pedestrian accidents.
In a bid to further safety in that regard, the San Mateo PD is working with departments in nearby cities for a Saturated Traffic Enforcement Program that places a special emphasis on senior safety. And in the meantime, the department has issued a variety of safety tips. Many of the tips simply take directives noted by the law and seek to ensure that the rules are being followed by people on foot.
Pedestrians should stick to the sidewalk whenever it’s possible to do so, and if none is available, a different route may be sought so that the person doesn’t have to walk in the street. If for some reason you absolutely must walk in the street, then you should walk against traffic rather than with it as you would with a bicycle. Avoid walking in a bike lane unless there’s no sidewalk and the lane is the safest place to travel.
When you’re getting ready to cross the street, it’s imperative that you only do so in those spots that have been designated for that. Many pedestrian accidents occur because an individual decides to cross in the middle of a block, underestimating their visibility or the speed of incoming traffic. Instead, opt to move across traffic at corners, as drivers will be more ready for the action, and utilize crosswalks whenever you can.
Make sure you respect signage and signals when you’re at a crosswalk. If a signal tells you not to cross, then wait until the pedestrian symbol pops up before you make your move. A flashing red hand doesn’t mean you can cross hastily; it means you shouldn’t cross if you’ve already started. Even when you are supposed to have the right of way, make sure traffic has stopped, locking eyes with drivers so that they can be sure of your actions and you of theirs.
Finally, don’t get in the habit of expecting vehicles to stop for you just because you’re on foot. You could be endangering your life every time you make the assumption that a vehicle will halt before it reaches you.