Britton For Reno · Tuesday, March 3, 2020 · 3 minutes

STOP! Stop at the stop sign, stop texting and driving, stop running red lights, stop racing because you are late, just STOP!

In 2012 I was walking to work at about 7:00am downtown and was hit by a car who rolled the red stoplight, while I was in the crosswalk. Luckily, I was fine, only shook up.
In 2014, a friend of mine from high school was hit in a crosswalk at night at the University, he was killed.

Different circumstances, different endings, same city.

Fast forward to 2020, we have lost more children, people and pets to vehicular injury and death than ever before.

Beginning in 2019 I began receiving calls and requests regarding how to protect our pedestrians. I am used to taking the initiative with issues and stepping in to help, but over the last 9 months, I couldn’t stop thinking, “Why were people dying weekly and nothing was happening?” So, I spoke with different groups of people and researched traffic studies.

How could we protect children, tourists and citizens from being hit by cars? What were the correct lines of communication and action needed to inform both drivers and pedestrians to resolve this problem?

There is no blame game here in this piece, because I don’t need to criticize anyone to create a solution, but instead we could try to recognize the basic tools we are lacking regarding pedestrian protocols. Causes are plenty, cell phone use, poor lighting, shorter times to cross the street, irresponsible drivers, speed limits being too high and heavy and increased traffic to our neighborhoods. We can talk about the “why” this is happening all day, but more importantly, we need it to stop.

This article predominantly suggests ways people can be safe pedestrians, but I would also like to take action to ensure safer drivers, such as calling for enhanced crosswalks, higher fees for driving and texting and making school zones safer for all our students.

Here are helpful ways to stay safe especially while our nights bring darkness sooner and we have an active community.

  • Wear something reflective. Many of our older neighborhoods have limited lighting sources, so we must take it upon ourselves to create our own light. Wear a reflective vest, blinking accessories.
  • Hit the crosswalk button. Use this additional safety measure, whenever you can, because it can offer additional safety measures such as blinking lights and alerting drivers.
  • Always assume the car’s driver does not see you.
  • Help others. If you see someone that has difficulty passing the crosswalk in the shorter time allotted them, help them. You can easily take someone’s arm, or just walk at their pace so their presence is more visible to drivers.
  • Report drivers. If you see something, say something. Report their license plate and incident.
  • As a driver, I implore you… it can wait. You are in control of a moving, deadly weapon and when driven irresponsibly, people WILL lose their lives.

One life is too many. One second can save a life. Look around, slow down and please, pay attention. We have lost too many people already, we can, as a community, make our streets safer.

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