Every week, numerous pedestrians and bikers are hurt on the streets of Southern California. Many of these injured people are struck by motor vehicles as they are crossing the street, riding a bicycle, preparing to board a bus or get into a car, or simply standing on the corner. Sometimes distracted driving is to blame, but not always.
Some injuries can be avoided, even if drivers are behaving negligently. Here are some practical steps you can take to steer clear of accidents and keep yourself safe on city and suburban streets.
Critical tips for walkers and bikers
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center suggests some of the following safety tips:
- Be visible: Be aware of your clothing if it’s dark outside. Make eye contact with drivers, not just their vehicles; don’t assume they can see you. Don’t emerge from between cars or obstacles without looking. Don’t run into the street abruptly.
- Keep your eyes open: Look both ways before you cross a street – it’s not just for kids. Watch for headlights. Don’t assume cars and trucks will stop for you, even if they’re supposed to.
- Use your ears: Listen for oncoming traffic, including vehicular sounds from engines and brakes. Be familiar with the sounds and sights of the most dangerous times of the day, week and year – problems can happen at rush hour, after special events and on holidays and weekend evenings when people have been drinking.
- Follow the rules, signs and signals: Be careful about jaywalking, stoplights and “Don’t Walk” signs. Don’t enter an intersection unless you’re sure it’s safe
- Practice bike safety: Obey the rules of the road on your bike. Signal your turns clearly. Keep your hands on the handlebars. Wear a helmet and use LED lighting and reflective gear at night. Never use your phone while pedaling!
Pedestrians and bicyclists shouldn’t have to be hyperaware to avoid being hit on the street, yet accidents are all too common. Many of these suggestions may seem embarrassingly simple, but they will only keep you safe if you actually follow them all the time.