Keep an Eye Open for Pedestrians

Lizzy Saba, Staff Writer

Recently there have been multiple reports of pedestrians being struck by oncoming motor vehicles. In the late December of 2014, a pedestrian was hit by a car near the 200 block of NW 16 street in Belle Glade. Just this past February in Lantana, a motorcycle accident left a pedestrian hospitalized near South Dixie Highway and East Pine Street. On Wednesday, March 4th, 2015, a pedestrian was hit by an oncoming vehicle at South Congress Ave and 6th Ave South in Lake Worth.

It’s not just cars either. On Tuesday, March 10th, 2015, a pedestrian was struck by a train on Thirteenth Ave North to 6th Ave South. Unfortunately, the pedestrian was killed in the accident. The whole block was shut down and blocked off until the situation was taken care of.

Pedestrians being struck by vehicles is becoming more and more common in South Florida. A lot of these reports are in the local area, including Lake Worth, Lantana, and Greenacres.

In 2012, 4,743 people were killed in pedestrian/motor vehicle crashes, more than 12 people every day of the year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). There were 76,000 reported pedestrian injuries in 2012; nearly one injury every 7 minutes.

How can pedestrians prevent injuries and deaths from motor vehicle crashes:

  • Pedestrians should increase their visibility at night. Have a flashlight at hand when walking or wear retro-reflective clothing to help oncoming drivers see you more visibly.
  • Whenever possible, pedestrians should cross the street at a designated crosswalk or intersection. J-Walking is extremely dangerous and is a reason most pedestrians are hit. To prevent any injury, make sure to obey laws and cross at designated crosswalks when able to do so. No one wants a $65 fine.
  • It is much safer to walk on a sidewalk, but if a sidewalk is not available, pedestrians should walk on the shoulder and facing traffic. Just like walking in a neighborhood with no side-walks, always walk on the opposite side of road (left side) towards oncoming traffic. This way you can see cars coming and they are mostly likely able to see you. When walking in direction OF traffic, your back is turned and may not see a driver coming a little too close.

Always double-check before crossing the street and keep an eye out for pedestrians. This is very important especially for students who walk to school – the danger of being hit is a lot more likely than people think.