We may have all been expecting spring break this year, but regardless of the wrench COVID-19 has thrown into our annual plans, one fact remains.
Spring is here.
As the weather continues to warm up, more and more people will be venturing out of their homes to enjoy a breath of fresh air. Perhaps even more so now with self-imposed quarantines and social distancing occurring across the nation.
What does this mean for you?
Drivers of any form of motorized vehicle can expect increased pedestrian and bicycle traffic on the roadways. We all need to blink away our winter hibernation and keep an even keener eye for our fellow (wo)man as we (hopefully) continue driving to and from work and other engagements this spring.
Being a pedestrian and/or cyclist, one might assume that little care needs to be taken on a leisurely stroll around the block or a quick bicycle jaunt. But nothing could be farther from the truth.
Careless driving happens, and even though pedestrians do have the right of way in many situations, this does not mean that every driver is prepared to let you go first.
This holds especially true in our technological age as more people than not are utilizing mobile devices will driving, even if it’s only while they are stopped at a red light.
Still think drivers everywhere are looking out for you?
Think again. The most recent data to date indicates that pedestrians killed in traffic crashes rose by more than three percent in 2018 totaling 6,283 deaths. This is a record high since 1990. Cyclists killed in traffic crashes in 2018 come to 857.
So how can we ALL stay safe this spring?
Driving, Walking, Biking? Take these tips from NHTSA to save lives.
- Look out for pedestrians, cyclists, and cars everywhere. Safety is a shared responsibility.
- Use extra caution when driving, biking, or walking in hard-to-see conditions.
- Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or waiting to cross the street.
- Yield in crosswalks, right of way isn’t worth the risk.
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
- Follow the speed limit (cars).
- Everyone should be predictable, obeying rules of the road, signs, and signals.
- Follow slower speed limits in school zones and neighborhoods.
- Cars – be extra cautious when backing up/turning.
- Pedestrians should use sidewalks whenever available.
- Everyone should stay alert, put down your mobile device(s).
- Walkers and cyclists – be visible at all times. Never assume a driver sees you.
- Cyclists – be smart. Wear protective gear and ride one per bike.
One last tip – Everyone should be aware of their rights as pedestrians, cyclists, and automobile drivers should an accident happen.
Lastly, break that cabin fever and get outside.
Enjoy the sunshine and rainy days. Just be sure to look in front of you while walking or riding around vehicles, and only look up to soak in the warmth of the sun on your face when you’re in a safe space.