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Pedestrian Safety Awareness Campaign

By Staff | Jun 14, 2011

You really don’t think much about it as you drive down the street. At every intersection, there are these signs along the street, with a silhouette of a walking person. Perhaps there are lines painted on the pavement, or stripes to indicate where a person can walk across the street. Most times, drivers don’t give such things much notice as they drive down the street or roadway.

But they should because it’s a matter of life and death.

Pedestrians are entitled to safe passage across streets and roadways, and yet, in Iowa, 22 pedestrians were killed in 2009 along. Since 2000, Iowa has averaged 20 pedestrian deaths annually, which translates into five percent of all traffic fatalities each year. Iowa currently averages over 500 traffic-related pedestrian injury accidents every year.

Since 1984, over one-half of pedestrian deaths were people under 20 years of age, or over 65 years of age. The actions of pedestrians that contribute to such accidents include not crossing at crosswalks, walking in an improper position on the roadway, running onto a roadway from between parked vehicles and drinking.

Vehicle actions that can contribute to pedestrian accidents include failure to yield to pedestrians, obstructed or obscured vision, inattentive or distracted driving, speeding and drinking.

In many cases, there is a lack of understanding of the laws and regulations of the road in regards to pedestrians and the motoring public.

Locally, increasing traffic levels in Emmetsburg over the past few years have created a growing concern from members of the business community, local government and law enforcement community. To address the concerns, a campaign to educate the public Experts say many of these crashes are due to unsafe behaviors by both pedestrians and drivers. So to address the problem, the Emmetsburg Retail Association, along with representatives of the City of Emmetsburg and the Emmetsburg Police Department have joined together to develop a public education program promoting pedestrian safety to serve both residents and visitors to the community.

This pedestrian awareness campaign will be targeted to both pedestrians and drivers, and will include reminders about traffic laws that address the use of crosswalks, pedestrian warning signs, pedestrian signal indications, and reflective materials for nighttime visibility.

For pedestrians, information on proper used of crosswalks, crossing at the corners or crossing streets or roadways at designated crossing areas will be emphasized, along with reminders about wearing clothing with reflective properties when walking after dark.

Motorists will be reminded that they have the responsibility to see pedestrians, and to stop for them. Whether in a crosswalk or intersection, or other designated crossing area, a driver needs to be aware of their surroundings, such as when turning, or even to consider that a car stopped ahead of them may be waiting for a pedestrian crossing the roadway, and to be courteous to that driver as well.

Another aspect of pedestrian safety is visibility, or being able to see pedestrians in darkness or inclement weather. Statistics show that half of pedestrian fatalities occur between 6 p.m. and midnight. Pedestrians who walk after twilight are always encouraged to wear reflective clothing of some type or to carry a flashlight in order to be seen by motorists.

As part of the pedestrian safety campaign in Emmetsburg, local officials will plan a special traffic enforcement effort where motorists may be cited for violations of pedestrian laws. After that initial enforcement effort, a second enforcement will be conducted, without any notice to the public.