Let’s Walk Together on a Safety Path

When you start your day with disheartening news on pedestrian safety from the Governors Highway Safety Association, it can drag you down. Most of you know I am passionate about safety and work in this arena because it matters.

A new GHSA report indicates 6,590 pedestrian fatalities occurred in 2019, the highest number in more than 30 years.

At some point in the day, everyone is a pedestrian.  So, let’s pick each other up and work collaboratively to be a part of a safety solution. After all, the people dying are family members, neighbors and co-workers. Each one of their lives matter.

Employers should broaden their safety culture to include within their driver safety/transportation safety program conversations about pedestrian safety. This means providing education and training, too. Employees walk to and from work, walk to a job site or on a construction area near roadways, walk to lunch, walk to a meeting from a parking garage and walk in their neighborhoods and communities. Employers and co-workers are impacted when an employee or family member is injured or killed.

When you think about all of the places we walk – in and out of a store, from a parking lot to a sporting event or concert, to and from the office or school – the list is endless.

We, as road users, must engage in safety and limit all distractions whether it is driving, walking or biking. There may not be a second chance.

  • Whenever possible, walk on the sidewalk; if no sidewalk is available, walk facing traffic
  • Follow the rules of the road, obeying all traffic signs and signals
  • Cross streets at crosswalks
  • If no crosswalk is available and your view is blocked, move to a place where you can see oncoming traffic
  • Look left, right and left again before crossing the street, making eye contact with drivers of oncoming vehicles to make sure they see you
  • Stay alert – avoid cell phone use and do not walk with earbuds in your ears
  • Avoid alcohol and impairment from other drugs when walking
  • Wear bright and/or reflective clothing, and use a flashlight at night
  • Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways or backing up in parking lots
  • Children younger than 10 should cross the street with an adult

There are many great resources on the National Safety Council website.

All of us care about safety. It’s time to double-down on our efforts. I pledge to be a safer pedestrian, will share safety information with others and encourage you to join me in making this a safety priority.

– Lisa Robinson is a senior program manager with the National Safety Council