Saturday November 22, 2014

Safe streets for all

License Comments

The sun has renewed warmth. What little snow we had is a memory. The passage of winter and arrival of spring has drawn more and more people back into one of the Battlefords most popular extreme sports. Going for a walk.

In a letter to the editor (published on this page), North Battleford resident Harlen Crier suggests it is once again time to educate the driving public about the rights of pedestrians.

Here are a few direct quotes from the official SGI Saskatchewan Driver’s Handbook.

“When approaching an intersection, you (the driver) must yield the right of way to any pedestrians crossing the street.”

To expand on this idea, the driver who observes a pedestrian on the sidewalk walking with traffic, who is about to step into the crosswalk, should not put the pedal to the metal in order to make their right turn. An unwary pedestrian, not used to the ways of Battlefords drivers, might not think to shoulder check before entering the crosswalk and could end up ambulance fodder.

“You must stop your vehicle before the crosswalk, which will either be painted on the road or be an imaginary extension of the sidewalk.”

This means the pedestrian shouldn’t have to risk his life by venturing into oncoming traffic to walk around the front of your vehicle, or being pinned between your vehicle and another coming up behind by venturing around the back.

“You many not pass any vehicle that is stopped in an intersection to permit pedestrians to cross.”

And, you may not fiddle with your Ipod, text a friend or pick something up off the floor as you approach a vehicle stopped for a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Such behaviour can result in your vehicle smacking dramatically into the rear of the stopped vehicle, not only ruining your day and the day of the other driver, but potentially injuring pedestrians who may not have made it beyond the front of the vehicle you careened into.

Pedestrians also need to be reminded that along with rights come responsibilities.

SGI says, “As a pedestrian you must not attempt to cross at an intersection unless you have given motorists a chance to stop.”

That’s obvious, but notice the emphasis on “at an intersection.” When the walking guy flashes off and the red hand comes up at a light controlled intersection that doesn't mean it’s time to deke down the street and dart across in the middle of the block.

And, for all those kamikaze post office patrons on both sides of the river, enjoy the day. Walk all the way to the end of the street and cross at the intersection. Not only will you cut down on heart-stopping entertainment for those behind the wheel, you might just find the lack of adrenalin rush a great stress reliever.

Let’s look out for one another and keep the streets safe, for drivers and pedestrians, defined by SGI as including persons in wheelchairs, motorized wheelchairs and medical scooters.

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