Wearing bright clothing at a crosswalk

By Chuck Wright | Sep 15, 2017

While motoring on Village Green Drive, one can see individuals walking, running or strolling hand-in-hand. A lot of these meanderers often stop at a marked crosswalk, then look both ways so they can verify it is safe to enter the street and travel to the other side.

How many times have you been behind a driver who poorly pretends not to see a pedestrian and hurriedly speeds past the walker? Like you, when I see this illegal and discourteous action, my thoughts turn to – since this is a family paper I’ll let you fill in what you believe I might have been be thinking, but it was not, “Gee, the poor driver is having a medical emergency! I hope he is OK.”

I believe it is probably due to our schools starting up that our city’s women and men in blue uniform have become concerned about pedestrian safety.  So much so that our city leaders have asked our police officers to focus on cross walkers’ safety. Now under this mandate our city’s finest are putting the word out they will be emphasizing the pedestrian crosswalk right away.

I caught these officers’ warning, so I’m now passing their warning onto anyone who drives in our city. Therefore, be forewarned some of our men and women in blue very soon will be donning bright colored civilian type clothing and they will be walking, or at least trying to, in some of our crosswalks. If a driver chooses to ignore the pedestrian’s (undercover officer) legal rights, the violator will be pulled over. Then at the very least the transgressor will be reminded of the law. But remember, this is the lowest sanction that the dangerous driver can receive.

Most of us have forgotten what the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) has mandated that those behind a wheel MUST do when they come across a legal street crosser. With my emphases added, here is a review of the RCW.

Drivers MUST stop if a pedestrian is in the driver’s half of the roadway.

Drivers MUST stop if a pedestrian is within one lane of their half of the roadway.

Drivers may ONLY proceed when a pedestrian is beyond one lane of the half of the driver’s roadway can the driver move forward.

I’m certain that we all agree pedestrians in crosswalks should not have to fear for their safety as they try to make it across our streets. So, thinking over the pedestrian’s RCW rules leaves me to question if those codes go far enough when it comes to road crossers’ safety.

I believe it would be safer for both the driver and the crosser if the motorist takes the following courtesy steps.

When the driver sees someone or a group of people turn toward a crosswalk, which indicates they want to enter the street, then all drivers, and no matter if the person is not yet in the walker’s lane, should stop for the person so he or she can safely use the crosswalk.

Then when the traveler does enter the street, all drivers should already be stopped for the person so he/she can safely cross the two-lane road.

All vehicles, except for those cars on our three or more lane highways, should remain stopped until such time as the child, teenager, or adult steps onto the sidewalk.

Too often, I have observed young girls and boys advance only halfway through the street and then, for unknown reasons, they quickly turn around and run back to where they started. When this happens, there is an added danger for both the driver and for the walker.

We all know our police officers cannot be at all our crosswalks at the same time, therefore I asked myself: “When the bright colored “undercover” police actions begin, and we drivers become aware of how these officers are dressed, would this be the time for many of us adults to dress in brightly colored clothing and stand at a crosswalk?

If we also, as the police will be doing, stand by a crosswalk wearing our bright “undercover” clothing, our actions just might motivate drivers to stop for pedestrians, which those drivers would not have otherwise done.

Darn right a big “thank you” goes out to our city’s police officers for re-enforcing that those who drive in Mill Creek MUST yield to those who use our crosswalks.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.