Pedestrians need common sense when walking in road

Recently a reader of these weekly columns brought to my attention how many pedestrians are walking in the roads at dusk and at night while wearing dark clothing. Unfortunately, even in our villages, sidewalks are often non-existent or unsafe to walk on, especially in the winter. More often, people are walking on the wrong side of the road.

A good example of this is Finney Boulevard (state Route 30) in Malone, where there are no sidewalks from Franklin Street to The Trails in Malone housing project. This results in many pedestrians walking along Finney Boulevard, to visit businesses between Franklin Street and U.S. Route 11, often at dusk, during bad weather, or even at night. Far too many of these walkers wear dark clothing and often walk on the wrong side of the road, with traffic rather than against it — as they should.

It is important that pedestrians walking in the road be seen by drivers. Dark clothing makes it very difficult for drivers to see walkers. It is best to wear reflective clothing or light-colored clothing at a minimum. If you are walking along a road at night, carry a flashlight or wear a headlamp or a flashing lamp to help drivers see you.

Just as important as wearing bright or reflective clothing, pedestrians should always walk on the left side, facing traffic. Not only is this the law, but it enables pedestrians to watch approaching traffic. If a vehicle is drifting toward the shoulder, at least a pedestrian will have a better chance to avoid being struck. Here are a few more safety tips for pedestrians:

¯ Cross in marked crosswalks and at intersections.

¯ Use pedestrian pushbutton and WAIT for “walk” signal to cross.

¯ Before crossing, look left, right, and left again, and make eye contact with drivers – don’t be looking at your smart phone.

¯ Use sidewalks if there are any available.

And some tips for drivers:

¯ Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks – it’s the law.

¯ Do not block crosswalks when stopping at intersections.

¯ Take extra care around schools, playgrounds, and neighborhoods.

¯ Always look out for pedestrians, especially when turning at a green light or making a right turn on red.

¯ Share the road. It’s your responsibility to look for others.


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