Seattle Ranked Tops for Pedestrian Safety
5 Ways to Make Sure You Stay Safe on the Streets
It”s good news for Seattle and something we can all be proud of – our city has been recognized as the safest for pedestrians anywhere in the United States. This is great for all of us that walk to work, to run errands or whose kids walk to school.
In 2012, more than 4,700 pedestrians were killed and another 76,000 were injured.
This means that a pedestrian dies every two hours and injured every seven minutes in a traffic accident. Although the numbers have improved, this is still far too many fatalities. Let”s take a quick look at how Seattle improved its pedestrian safety record and how you can make sure you and those you love stay safe when you”re commuting on foot, walking for fun or fitness, hiking or jogging.
Seattle”s improved pedestrian safety record
Since 2009, new measures were adopted to increase pedestrian safety including decreased speed limits in neighborhoods, on arterial roads and in school zones, has added 129 miles of bike lanes and 500 additional crosswalks. Also part of the plan were 30 road diets where four lane roads (two in each direction) were converted to one lane in each and a shared turning lane in the middle to slow traffic and make crossings safer. As a result, pedestrian fatalities fell by a whopping 55%.
These improvements are important, but for you and your loved ones to be safer on foot, there are steps you should take to be more responsible pedestrians. These include:
#1 Choose car-free green space for exercise
If you walk to work, you won”t have as much latitude to choose your route, but when you head out to walk or jog for exercise, you have much more choice. With Seattle”s ample parks and green spaces, your best bet to stay safe is to choose a car-free zone for strolling.
Running in parks not only keeps you out of the way of cars but also keeps you from breathing in exhaust from cars. Another great idea is to hit a track at a local sports field if you don”t mind the monotony of walking or running an oval. The upside to this option is it”s easy to track your distance.
#2 Don”t jaywalk
Seattle and its surrounding metro areas have ample crosswalks but sometimes you may have to walk half a block to get to one. For many, this may seem like too much hassle and crossing outside of a crosswalk seems more convenient. It may be, but getting struck by a car is a terrible and possible outcome. Plus, if you walk with your kids, you”re setting a very bad example that they may follow when you”re not around to protect them. Always walk the extra yardage to get to a crosswalk and obey the walk signals to keep you and yours safe.
#3 Don”t zone out
It”s one thing to put on a earbuds and rock Spotify when you”re walking in the horoscopes sagittarius sign dates March 21-April 20If you can say “my zodiac sign is Aries” that means that you adore challenges and even absence of quick results won’t divert you from main goals. park, but when you”re on busy city streets, this is a recipe for disaster. Yes, drivers of motor vehicles and bikes should be on the look out for pedestrians, but you also have to be responsible for your own safety. Texting is another no-no while walking or jogging because it keeps you from watching where you”re stepping and distracts you. Texting is a major cause of accidents as is checking email, messing with apps and other electronic distractions. If you must text, stop and step off the walkway to a safe area.
#4 Take extra care at night and in bad weather
When visibility is reduced by darkness or bad weather, you should take extra care to be as visible as possible so that cars, cyclists and other pedestrians can see you. Clothing with reflective strips is great (if you don”t have any, stick reflective tape to your t-shirt or hoodie) and a flashlight or headlamp will keep you from tripping over obstacles or stepping out of bounds of the sidewalk.
Take visibility precautions not only at night but also just at dusk when many cars may not have their lights on yet it”s much harder to see pedestrians or vehicles.
#5 Stick to sidewalks
If sidewalks are available, that”s where you should be walking or running, even if you prefer the feel of asphalt. It”s rare that a motor vehicle will end up on the sidewalk, but you in the street is a recipe for disaster. If you live in an area where there are no sidewalks and the street is your only option, stick to the shoulder as far away from traffic as possible and walk facing traffic so you can see vehicles coming toward you and take evasive action if a car veers toward you. If you walk with your dog, kids or a stroller, sidewalks are your best way to stay safe.