Sunday, December 13, 2009

News-Press editorial invites ideas about how to reduce pedestrian deaths

December 12, 2009
Editorial: Pedestrians must wake up

Pedestrians are going to have to take more responsibility for their own survival.
Lee County commissioners approved a resolution last month calling for roadways to be planned, designed and operated for greater pedestrian and bicycle safety.
The county is the 23rd worst metropolitan area in the country for preventable pedestrian deaths. At least 33 walkers have been killed here over the past two years.

Some stretches of road might benefit right now from more lighting, so motorists have a better chance of seeing pedestrians. Safety medians can help, as can more marked pedestrian crossings where traffic is slower.

But some pedestrians are killed because they abandon common sense. They insist on crossing multi-lane thoroughfares at mid-block, without the benefit of crosswalks or pedestrian lights, sometimes at night, sometimes with children in tow.

They court death, especially if they are drunk or otherwise impaired-and they put motorists in danger, too, when desperate attempts are made to avoid striking them.

Many people on foot are homeless, poor, non-English-speaking or otherwise hard to reach with safety education.

Send us ideas about how to reduce pedestrian deaths, especially cheap, quick road fixes or educational campaigns. We'll pass them on to transportation planners.

E-mail, call 239-335-0226, or write Mark Stephens, Pedestrian Safety, The News-Press, P.O. Box 10, Fort Myers, FL, 33902.

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