More crosswalks. More flashing lights. More police enforcement of jaywalking laws. All these things may reduce the chances of pedestrian deaths, but only by just a little.
Personal responsibility. That is the best way to make people safer, whether they’re walking or riding a bicycle or skateboard.
We don’t mean to minimize the impact of recent pedestrian accidents, but nearly every day we look out the Pilot office window onto Chetco Avenue and see at least one adult jaywalking across the busy highway — just 10 feet away from a marked crosswalk!
Also, we watch children on bicycles and skateboards crossing the intersection at high speeds, timing the light with no margin for error — and no concern that a motorist might jump the gun or run the red light.
A real decrease in pedestrian injuries and deaths is going to have to come from an individual’s own initiative and desire to protect themselves — certainly not from the threat of a jaywalking ticket.
Perhaps this week’s death of Brookings pedestrian Joyce Betties, or the recent near-death of a Harbor teenager who was hit by a car on Highway 101 at night, will be incentive enough.
Pedestrians, bicyclists, skateboarders should not automatically assume that all drivers see them. Even at crosswalks, don’t assume it’s OK to cross just because you have a green light. Look around. Check the intersection and look behind you. Don’t blindly rely on a driver or a traffic indicator to keep you safe. That’s your responsibility.