The warm weather of April quickly brought thoughts of spring and the outdoors to all of us. This month also brought children back to school; something that we haven’t seen during this last year. Both of these events brought pedestrian safety to my mind.
I have a 4-mile daily route, which includes sidewalks and a number of crosswalks. I was disheartened to learn that a quarter of all pedestrians struck by motor vehicles were hit in crosswalks. It is probably a good idea to go over the rules related to pedestrians and crosswalk safety.
In addition, the City is asking for our feedback on the location of marked crosswalks. I encourage you to take a few minutes and visit the website TualatinMovingForward.com to check in on what the City is doing and provide suggestions on areas that could use a marked crosswalk.
As I’m sure you remember from when you last took your driving test, Oregon law states that a crosswalk exists at any public road intersection, regardless of it being marked or not. A pedestrian is considered to be in a crosswalk as soon as they are showing any intent to cross. The law is very clear about this – intent to cross means any part of the body, wheelchair, cane, crutch, bike or any other extension of their body is in the crosswalk. The fine is $250 for failing to obey.
At marked and unmarked crosswalks, drivers need to stop and remain stopped until people walking are past their lane and the adjacent lane. At traffic lights, drivers need to stop and remain stopped until people walking are past their lane and 6 feet of the adjacent lane.
The responsibility does not fall solely on the driver – pedestrians also have a role in their own safety. This includes being aware when one is walking; don’t have your head down looking at your phone. Pedestrians should dress to be seen – bright colors during the day and reflective/lighted options in the dark. Pedestrians should always use a crosswalk and work with cars – make sure you are aware of cars in the area and make eye contact with the driver. Remember, in a car versus pedestrian accident, it is very clear who loses the most.
For drivers, pay attention. Realize that Tualatin is an area with lots of opportunity for people to be out and about and our residents love walking and biking. It goes without saying to avoid texting while driving. When approaching a pedestrian near a crosswalk or an intersection, be prepared for them to decide to cross. And give pedestrians plenty of time and space.
Let’s all safely share the beautiful spaces that we enjoy.