Walk safe and be street smart

Walk Wise Hawaii

We prepare for hurricane season, but we sometimes to forget to prepare for something as simple as walking across the street. Hawaii has declared August as Pedestrian Safety Month to make our streets safer and help save lives.

Across Hawaii, there will be pedestrian-related events and campaigns. You may have already seen posters about pedestrian safety, drawn by Kama’aina Kids participants, on McDonalds’ trayliners. You may have already seen decals of famous red footprints at local elementary schools. You may have already signed the Kupuna Pledge Card or the MomsInHawaii Pedestrian Pledge Card to commit to being a good pedestrian.

Here are 7 tips for pedestrian safety:

* Cross the street only at the corner or at a crosswalk. While crossing, keep to the right of the crosswalk.

* When crossing at a lighted intersection, be sure to use the pedestrian signal button and wait for the walk light indicator.

* Be sure to look left-right-left before crossing and continue to look while crossing. Always walk across the street, never run.

* Walk on the sidewalk if there is one; if there is no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the roadway facing traffic.

* Wear bright or light colored clothing when out walking or jogging. Wear retro-reflective materials at night.

* Watch for cars backing out of driveways; drivers don’t always see you.

* Stand on the side of the road while waiting for the bus. Always stand at least 10 feet away from where the bus will stop.

The most important reminder for pedestrians: make eye contact with drivers if you are walking in front of stopped cars. I like to waive or at least not my head (if I’m carrying things) to show that I’m aware of them. It always bothers me when pedestrians cross the street without turning their head to check for traffic, because they don’t seem to take responsibility for their safety.

And here’s a caution to bicyclists who use the sidewalks: for drivers, bicyclists on the sidewalks are a wild card. I often have a hard time judging how fast they are pedaling. Sometimes, bicyclists seem to appear out of an empty sidewalk. At intersections, I’m not sure whether they will keep going straight or, because of the placement of sidewalk ramps, make a turn in front of me. So please pedal vigilantly and watch for turning and reversing cars.

Today and everyday, walk safe and be street smart!

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