The Curry Coastal Pilot

After hearing of several near misses involving cars and pedestrians in Brookings in the few weeks, it happened: a bicyclist was hit and injured by a car Wednesday at the intersection of East Harris Heights and Highway 101.

The accident is a reminder to drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians to be more alert andndash; especially as we enter tourist season, when the number people and vehicles out and about increases.

The nice spring weather has spurred more people to hit the streets, on foot and on bicycles. Knowing this, Brookings Police Lt. Donny Dotson said that patrol officers will be paying particular attention to drivers' speeds in areas frequented by pedestrians. Officers will also be keeping an eye out for pedestrians who jaywalk or cross the street in the more hazardous areas.

The areas being targeted include most of the intersections and crosswalks in downtown Brookings, especially as the crosswalk in front of the movie theater andndash; the site of many near misses.

The law is: Drivers must stop for a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk. And cars must stop when another car is already stopped at a crosswalk.

There are many factors that can lead to tragedy on the roads andndash; unattentive driving, talking on the cell phone, drunk driving. But one of the most recognizable reasons is reckless and rash driving. The speed limit is 25 mph in downtown Brookings, Gold Beach and Port Orford, and increases incrementally from 35 mph on the outskirts of town to 55 mph on the highway.

Why are so many people in such a hurry? Studies have proven that, when traveling short distances, say from from Brookings to Harbor, the amount of time saved by driving 5 or 10 miles over the speed limited is negligible andndash; two or three minutes at the most. Is getting to work or school two minutes sooner worth putting lives in danger?

At the same time, bicyclists, skateboarders and pedestrians need to be more cautious when using the roads andndash; don't assume that a driver is paying attention or even sees you.

With both motorists and non-motorists aware of the potential dangers and acting accordingly, the number of near misses and roadside tragedies is sure to go down.