Did you know that Hawaii is the first state to celebrate Pedestrian Safety Month?
About 10 years ago, Hawaii was ranked number one in the nation for pedestrian deaths per capita of seniors 63 year and older. The number one reason for pedestrian accidents and fatalities is inattentive behavior on both the part of the driver and the walker. We’re simply not paying attention to each other. Most pedestrian fatalities occur during the early morning and late night hours when visibility is low or non-existent. We aren’t number one anymore, but we haven’t eliminated pedestrian fatalities. Today, senior crashes represent only 30 percent of all pedestrian crashes.
Every August the Hawaii State Department of Transportation’s Walk Wise Hawaii pedestrian safety education and awareness campaign works with community groups to teach the public about good pedestrian behavior and raise driver awareness. It’s important for pedestrians to wear bright and reflective clothing at night. Whether you’re walking your dog, talking a stroll to get healthy, or running down the street to get some milk, always wear something that can be seen easily by drivers. Walk Wise Hawaii recommends reflective safety vests, attachable blinking lights, or any type of reflective item you can wear or hold.
In addition, Walk Wise Hawaii asks that pedestrians always look left and right, then left again, and pay attention while crossing the street. We urge walkers to never take it for granted that they’re safe in a crosswalk. There’s no invisible force field around the crosswalk that’s going to stop a distracted driver.
This August, Walk Wise Hawaii introduced its Drive Wise Hawaii brochure, which serves as a counter point to its Steven Steps to Safety brochure. For each pedestrian tip, the new brochure shows the driver’s perspective and what they should be looking out for.
Drivers should remember that pedestrians can be hidden from view by stopped vehicles on multi-lane streets. So, the next time you see a car stopped, especially at a crosswalk, slow down and see what’s behind that car. It might be a little old lady trying to cross the street because one car stopped. You don’t want to be the person who was in a rush, passed a car, and then hit someone. It’s happened so many times here in Hawaii.
The Walk Wise Hawaii program offers complimentary presentations to groups of all ages. If you’re interest in a pedestrian safety presentation in your area at any time during the year or would like to organize a pedestrian safety sign waving event in your community, please contact Lance Rae at 535-9099 or e-mail Lance@tlcpr.com.
To learn more about pedestrian safety education in Hawaii, visit www.facebook.com/walkwisehawaii.