ARE YOU A SAFE PEDESTRIAN? Deborah Nelson+ September 23, 2020



Chances are if you are reading this you have been walking the majority of your life. But it’s not just walking we’re worried about. We are fairly confident that you can successfully transport yourself throughout the mall or around the park, but what concerns us are your habits as a pedestrian. Do you know how to safely walk amongst cars, motorcycles, and even bicycles?

Here are some tips we’ve gathered as experienced downtown Seattle pedestrians:

1. Heads Up!

Walking with your head down is tempting after a long day of work, but doing so prevents you from seeing where you are going and making eye contact with drivers.

2. Don’t Trust the Lights

Of course, you should always wait for the light to turn before crossing. It is the law, after all. But, another reason to wait is because some motorists or cyclists run red lights. Although you have the right to cross after the light turns, always look both ways and make sure the intersection is clear and no cars are coming before you cross.  

3. Ditch the Earphones

We love jamming to tunes as much as the next person, but the fact is, if your music is cranked up, you won’t hear the sounds of traffic that could indicate that something is wrong. Those audio indicators such as car horns, sirens, and even people shouting, could give you enough time to react and prevent an injury or wreck. Best to save the music until you’re home and can dance like nobody’s watching.

4. Stand Out

We don’t always plan on having to walk in the dark, but if you find yourself in that situation and you don’t have reflective gear or bright clothing, you can use your phone’s flashlight to alert cars that you are there – just don’t shine it in the driver’s eyes! Keep the light toward the ground. And whenever possible, try to take a route that is well-lit.

5. Beware of Bikers

When crossing the road, watch out for cyclists. It is harder for them to slow down and stop. In addition, some of the new bike lanes have traffic lights specifically for bikes and they travel are required to travel in parts of the street where you may not expect to see them. A collision between a bike and a pedestrian is dangerous for both parties. Keep your head up to avoid any potential collisions.

6. Watch your Step

There are many places throughout city sidewalks that can be hazardous, whether you’re walking under a construction area’s scaffolding, or over sidewalk that is cracked and protruding because of a tree root. Look ahead to avoid injuring yourself on any of these hazards.

7. Use your Phone Sparingly

It’s way too easy these days to only see the world through your 4G handheld window, but when traversing the city by foot it’s imperative that your phone be used wisely. If you are hit because you were looking at your phone, not at oncoming traffic, your case is not as strong.

8. Say NO to Jaywalking

It’s just not worth it. A few seconds can save your life. If a traffic light is about to change to red, more likely the driver is focused on getting through it, and not paying attention to whether any impatient pedestrians are foolishly going to sprint across. You should avoid jaywalking not only for your safety, but also because you can be at fault if your actions caused a collision. Just wait for the crossing signal to change, and once it does, make sure the cars have stopped before crossing.

There you have it! Bet you didn’t think there were so many strategies to safely do something as simple as walking! Pass along this information to keep your family and friends safe, especially if they’re about to visit a busy city for the first time.