Two Steps Ahead: Pedestrian Safety Month

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September 01, 2020
Edward Smith

September is Pedestrian Safety Month

As we all are acutely aware, many events are on hold this year due to the pandemic.  September is still designated as Pedestrian Safety Month, however, there are no big public service campaigns for 2020.  We can look to last year for evergreen tips from the Elk Grove Police Department, who worked in conjunction with the California Office of Traffic Safety to promote pedestrian awareness and safe behaviors.

In recent years, California has seen an increase in pedestrian injuries and fatalities on its roadways.  In 2016, more than 850 pedestrians were killed, and 14,000 plus were injured in this state alone. In 2017, 940 pedestrians were killed in California, and in 2018, the grim statistic was 893.  

Elk Grove’s Efforts to Increase Pedestrian Safety

Last September, Elk Grove Police Department enlisted additional officers to patrol with the intent of reducing the number of pedestrian-related collisions.  The additional officers were to specifically focus on pedestrians and drivers who were violating traffic laws.  The enforcement was increased around Elk Grove schools.  Some of the violations for which they were on the lookout included distracted or impaired driving or walking, speeding, failures to yield to those who have the right of way, and failures to stop for traffic signals or stop signs.  The project did not just target drivers, as there are rules of the road for pedestrians as well.  A representative for the Elk Grove police said that while pedestrians should not have to fear for their lives while crossing a street, they should also be mindful of drivers – the need for caution goes both ways.  He pointed out that vehicle drivers have to get out of their cars and walk, so we are all pedestrians at one point or another.

There have been many advances in vehicle technology aimed at increasing the chances for pedestrian survival.  Obviously, reducing the number of collisions in the first place is the pedestrian’s best bet.

Safety Tips for Pedestrians and Drivers

The safety steps offered by the Elk Grove Police Department included:


  • Look left, then right, and then left again before beginning to cross the street.  Be aware of turning vehicles and obey all traffic controls.
  • Cross the street only within marked crosswalks, preferably those at intersections managed by stop signs or traffic signals.
  • Do not look at your phone while walking, and avoid other distractions.
  • Do not assume drivers see you – make eye contact with them before walking in front of their vehicle.
  • Increase your visibility with bright clothes or reflective/lighted accessories in the evening.
  • If there is a sidewalk, use it.  If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic on the shoulder, as far away from the flow of traffic as possible.
  • Do not walk in traffic areas after drinking or using drugs that affect coordination and judgment.


  • Obey speed limits. The faster you travel, the longer it takes to stop your vehicle.
  • Do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Avoid distracted driving.
  • Be on the lookout for pedestrians, especially at night and in areas that are poorly lit.
  • Remember that pedestrians have the right of way at crosswalks even if the intersection has no stop sign or traffic signal.
  • Be prepared to stop when a pedestrian enters a crosswalk.
  • When attempting to turn right, avoid blocking the crosswalk.
  • In parking lots, be especially careful when backing up to leave a parking space.  This is where many pedestrian collisions occur.

Watch the 2018 YouTube video from the Office of Traffic Safety aimed at promoting pedestrian safety awareness.

Elk Grove Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a personal injury attorney in Elk Grove, California.  Collisions involving pedestrians can result in catastrophic injuries, even death.  If you or a family member has been the unfortunate victim of a negligent driver, we can offer compassionate, free, and friendly advice.  Call (916) 694-0002 or, if outside the region, (800) 404-5400. I also can be reached via our online form.

Photo Attribution:

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