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Front Page » October 2, 2008 » Carbon County News » Motorists reminded to watch for pedestrians
Published 2,179 days ago

Motorists reminded to watch for pedestrians


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By C.J. MCMANUS
Sun Advocate community editor

As the days begin to get shorter and visibility becomes more of a challenge Carbon drivers are reminded to pay close attention as individuals make their way across busy intersections.

According to officials at the Price Police Department the number of vehicle-pedestrian accidents is up and the department would like to remind residents to be ever mindful of those crossing before them.

"I have seen two of my friends hit in the last two weeks," said Kellie Criswell, 43, of Price. "I really feel like our right don't matter that if we don't stay out most car's way we are going to get hit."

The Utah code clearly states that "drivers must yield to pedestrians lawfully withing crosswalks, by coming to complete stop, while a pedestrian is in the vehicle's travel lane ore adjoining lane. Also, when a vehicle is stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross, vehicles approaching from the rear must also stop to verify that no pedestrian is within their travel lane or adjoining lane."

Additionally, when approaching a stop sign, drivers must stop before entering the crosswalk.

The recent increase in accidents has not only affected pedestrians but has bothered those in our community who use motorized scooters as their main mode of transportation.

"It's like cars don't even see us," said Criswell. "Even if we have the right of way they just get into the cross walk and keep on going."

Criswell made the point that those on motorized vehicles are to be treated as pedestrians and deserve the same respect and cautionary measures.

To aid scooters and pedestrians, drivers are also required by law to not position their vehicle in the crosswalk in a way that would obstruct the free passage of pedestrian in crosswalks and before crossing a sidewalk, drivers must yield to pedestrians on the walk by coming to a complete stop.

Pedestrian safety has been an issue in Price for more than a year.

Last winter, Price city officials took measures to make an portion of 800 North near the college more safe because of the area's dimly lit nature.

That area of Price continues to be a problem, according to Price officials because of the high volume of pedestrian traffic and the excessive speed demonstrated by high school and college students.

When dealing with schools, a vehicle approaching a school bus from the front or rear that is displaying flashing red lights, all drivers shall stop before reaching the bus and shall not again proceed until the red lights on the school bus stop flashing.

While drivers must always be cautions of those crossing before them, pedestrians also mush abide by certain laws.

"Pedestrians shall only cross a roadway in a crosswalk, pedestrian tunnel or overhead walkway unless there is no crosswalk... available within 700 feet. In such a case a pedestrian may cross by the shortest straight route to the opposite side after exercising due care and caution and yielding to all vehicular traffic," states the Utah Traffic Code.

Crossing streets on foot or by scooter requires sound judgment.

The following tips, provided by the Utah Transportation Division, are meant to help improve safety for all those crossing an intersection:

•Never assume a driver can see a pedestrian or scooter. "Try to make eye contact with drivers before walking in front of their car."

•Always watch for turning vehicles that are too close to stop safely. Even if a pedestrian is in the legal right of way that will not help them from the injury incurred from the impact of an oncoming vehicle. "In an accident, the pedestrian always looses."

•Do not run or ride bicycles or skateboards in crosswalks. However, when crossing do minimize the amount of time spent in the crosswalk.

•When provided, always use the pedestrian push button.

•Wear protective and reflective clothing when walking at night.

"We encourage everyone to use an orange flag and vest when riding their scooter," said Criswell, who volunteers at Active Re-Entry. "We have close calls all of the time and like I said people just don't see us, so everything we can do to increase our visibility only increases our chances of not getting hurt."

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