First of a four part series on summer safety
By Sandy Rigas
In this series, we’ll explore some of the things all of us in the community should be mindful of in order to keep summer fun safe for everyone.
Summer is officially here, school’s out, and life on the village sidewalks has come alive. With the increase in pedestrian traffic, so rises the incidence of accidents and injuries. In writing this article, I reviewed Village of Wellsville local ordinances, and consulted the Wellsville Village Police Department.
According to recent data from the CDC, a pedestrian is killed every 75 minutes in traffic crashes. Pedestrians can help protect themselves from injury by walking on the correct side of the street. “People should use a sidewalk whenever possible. IF they find themselves having to walk in the street, they should walk FACING traffic, so the vehicles are coming TOWARD them,” said Wellsville Chief of Police Tim O’Grady.
Also, pedestrians should walk as far away as possible from the oncoming traffic, notes the NYS Division of Motor Vehicles.
To help avoid accidents, pedestrians should be mindful of doing their part, which includes using marked crosswalks, if available, and avoiding crossing in the middle of a block.
Pedestrians DO have the right of way, meaning motor vehicles and bicycles need to YIELD to them, following the NYS “Rules of the Road.” (It’s not a matter of who was there first!) If walking at dusk or after, pedestrians should wear light colored clothing, or if possible, something reflective.
“Walking on the wrong side of traffic, and wearing dark clothing are contributors to motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians which happen after dark,” the CDC notes.
Operators of all types of vehicles, including bicycles, need to be extra cautious in warmer months to be aware of pedestrians, many of whom may be children. “Distracted driving and not paying attention to the presence of pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections causes most motor vehicle and bicycle accidents involving pedestrians,” says the National Institute of Health.
“Motorists need to drive with extra caution on the village streets during the summer months as there is an increase of pedestrians, bicycles, and children playing. Yield to pedestrians, slow down, and be prepared to stop when turning and at crosswalks,” says Chief O’Grady, adding, “NEVER pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk; there may be people passing where you can’t see. And, be extra cautious when backing up.”
O’Grady also reminds drivers that the village speed limit is 30 m.p.h. and to be more careful in neighborhoods where children are present.
Next up: Wheels Up! The Wellsville Sun will be featuring this series by Sandy Rigas for the next four days so stay tuned!