Pedestrian Safety

pedestrian crosswalk in Boston

www.pedbikeimages.org / Laura Sandt

Along with our letter of ?thanks to members, we’ve been enclosing bookmarks with the ABC’s Quick Check for bicycles and?A Kid?s Guide to Safe Walking. Member Dick Snedeker reminds us that safe walking skills are for everyone.

The card you enclosed giving safety tips for crossing the street was addressed to kids, but there are many adults who could profit from the same tips. Over the last few years, I have noticed that when driving in Princeton, many pedestrians have become arrogant enough to assume that once they’re in a crosswalk, there’s no need to look out for traffic. Some people don’t even bother to look to see if cars are coming or have a reasonable chance to stop even before they enter the crosswalk. It’s like they’re playing Russian roulette: “If I get hit it’s your fault”–no matter that I’m badly injured, or worse, or that my carelessness was the real cause of the accident.

Case in point: A couple of days ago I was going south on Harrison Street near Southern Way at about the speed limit (25 mph) when I noticed a woman with a stroller in front of her waiting to cross from the other side. She was at a crosswalk, but I was only about 15 yards or so from it (a little more than one second at 25 mph), so I assumed she would wait to start crossing until I had passed. No such luck. Without even looking up for possible oncoming traffic–none was coming in the other direction–she started across, and I had to make a very sudden stop. Even then, she never looked up or seemed to notice my car. Then I saw that the stroller was empty and that she was carrying an infant in a sling around her neck. Her right hand was pushing the stroller and her left hand–you guessed it–was clutching her cellphone tight against her left ear. So much for being a responsible pedestrian. Bah, humbug!!

Since I grew up in the city (Brooklyn) and played in the street a lot, I learned very early that cars are much larger, faster, and harder than you are, and to stay out of their way–even if you’re in a crosswalk.

Dick Snedeker

Dick, thanks very much for the reminder! We’ll create a new bookmark and, in the meantime, please see our Walk Smart Stay Smart page for a list of suggestions and links to more resources about safe walking practices.

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