Four street-safe suggestions

We have laws promoting seatbelts, prohibiting speeding, and penalizing jaywalking. We have driver’s education classes, DUI checkpoints, and some of us are MADD. But when it comes to saving lives on the roads, we could still make our streets safer for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists.

Here are four common-sense suggestions to make our streets safer – with a small nudge instead of a shove:

* Design wider crosswalks. Regular crosswalks are about 6 feet wide, but SafeRoutesInfo.org recommends crosswalks that are 10-15 feet wide for school-related crosswalks. We could make it the standard for all major intersections too.

* Install street reflectors and directed lights in crosswalks. We should add street reflectors for day use and directed streetlights for night use, especially if they are not at an intersection.

* Plan wider bike lanes in future developments. Hawaii already has a well-developed Bike Plan – we just need to follow it. The Federal Highway Administration recommends that bike lanes are at least 4’ from the curb (not including the gutter pan) or 5’ from the curb or adjacent parking lane.

* Slow down. The Hawaii Department of Transportation has a “Walk Wise” program and DTRIC has a “Drive Aloha” program, but we are the ones that make them work. All of the safety laws and planning is ineffective without all of us taking the time to slow down, look around, and pay attention.

Ultimately, it’s our responsibility to look out for ourselves. What are your ideas to make our streets safer for everyone?

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