With clear skies and warm temperatures here, Michigan residents of all ages are lacing up their jogging shoes, adjusting their inline skates and getting their bicycles out of storage to enjoy the outdoors.
Before you hit the streets this season, though, Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land reminds you to be alert for traffic dangers and remember a few simple safety tips for drivers and pedestrians.
“As an avid runner myself, I know the enjoyment and health benefits of traveling through your neighborhood on foot,” said Land, who recently completed the 5-kilometer Fifth-Third River Bank Run through Grand Rapids. “But walkers, runners, bicyclists and car drivers alike should remember basic courtesy and roadway rules. We’ve seen great progress in reducing traffic injuries among pedestrians, but we still have work to do.”
In 2007, 133 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes in Michigan, down substantially from 192 deaths in 1998. On average, a pedestrian is injured in a traffic accident every four hours in Michigan. For total pedestrian-vehicle crashes, the number has decreased to 2,295 in 2007 from 3,891 in 1998.
“Drivers and pedestrians together can help reduce the number of people injured along Michigan’s roadways,” Land said. “Often simply being cautious and alert, and using common sense will allow you to reach your destination safely.”
Land launched her “Be Safe, Be Seen” campaign in 2006 along with advocates for people with disabilities and the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. The campaign targeted drivers and pedestrians about ways to be safe and share the road.
Pedestrians are reminded to:
Cross the street at a designated crosswalk when possible and always stop and look left, right, and left again before crossing;
Come to the edge of a parked vehicle and look around it, if it’s blocking the view of the street, before entering the street;
· Increase their visibility at night by carrying a flashlight when walking and by wearing reflective clothing that highlights body movements; and,
· Walk on the side of the road facing oncoming traffic where there are no sidewalks.
Land recommends drivers:
Look out for and always yield the right-of-way to people walking, jogging, biking or crossing a street in the middle of a block;
Pull out slowly from driveways and parking areas, while watching for pedestrians;
· Stop fully before turning right on a red traffic light and make sure no pedestrian or bicyclist is crossing or waiting to cross; and,
· Yield to anyone crossing the street if turning left on a green light.
Additional information about traffic safety, including the “Be Safe, Be Seen” brochure, is available at www.Michigan.gov/sos
You may not run or ride a bicycle. However, you can kick start an exercise program by walking. It’s a great way to begin encourage your friends to wake up and enjoy the summer mornings.
Be safe while you are out walking.For more information about walking log on to www.thewalkingsite.com.