Editorial: Be watchful for bicyclists, pedestrians

Published 7:51 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2019

As the weather gets nicer, more and more people are spending time outdoors. Whether it’s walking, running or riding bicycles, people are more likely to be taking advantage of the weather. It is critical that people — motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists alike — be aware of their surroundings.

According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, 42 pedestrians were killed in 2017 and 1,053 were injured across the state, compared to 60 deaths and 1,037 injuries in 2016.

Data shows about one-third of pedestrian crashes occurred during the weekday rush hour driving time from 6 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m. One out of every four pedestrian fatal crashes occurred between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m.

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The department encourages drivers to scan the road and sidewalks ahead for pedestrians, to drive attentively and at safe speeds and to anticipate pedestrians, especially in urban areas and around schools and colleges.

Drivers should look in all directions for pedestrians before making a turn, stop for crossing pedestrians at every intersection — even those without crosswalks or stoplights — and not block crosswalks while stopped.

Pedestrians should remember to cross streets at marked crosswalks or intersection instead of mid-block and obey traffic signals. They should make eye contact with drivers and ensure they see you and will stop. Pedestrians are also encouraged to use sidewalks when provided and to make sure to wear light colors if walking at night.

Bicyclists should ride the same direction as traffic, and motorists should maintain a 3-foot clearance when passing.

Bicyclists must obey all traffic control signs and signals the same as motorists, and should signal their turns in a predictable manner. Like pedestrians, they should wear light-colored or reflective clothing when it’s dark.

We ask that motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians alike keep safety a top priority as we all begin to enjoy a little more time outdoors.