Douglas County goes 'Street Smart'Ever run a red light, jaywalk, or speed through a school zone? Some of us have. But none of us should. In our everyday travels, we make decisions that affect the safety of those around us. Douglas County area residents and visitors are invited to observe pedestrian, bicyclist and motorist safety during the “Street Smart. walk.bike.drive” campaign currently being implemented.
Editor’s note: The following information was provided by Amy Reineke, health educator with Douglas County Public health.
Ever run a red light, jaywalk, or speed through a school zone? Some of us have. But none of us should.
In our everyday travels, we make decisions that affect the safety of those around us.
Douglas County area residents and visitors are invited to observe pedestrian, bicyclist and motorist safety during the “Street Smart. walk.bike.drive” campaign currently being implemented.
This campaign will utilize local residents to promote safe walking, biking and driving on Douglas County roads. The campaign’s goal is to foster more active, healthy lifestyles while raising awareness that safety is still the number one priority on roads, paths and sidewalks.
The Street Smarts campaign also responds to a nationwide concern over the number and severity of traffic crashes. In the United States, a pedestrian is killed every seven minutes and another 85,000 are injured every year. Year to date, 13 pedestrians have been killed in traffic crashes statewide. These are our neighbors and friends, not just statistics.
Street Smart goes beyond simply obeying the traffic regulations or driving below the speed limit. The Street Smart campaign calls for your attentiveness at all times; your patience with others; and your willingness to share the road. Adopting attitudes and behaviors that will make roads safer and friendlier will benefit everyone who uses them.
The campaign encourages pedestrians to use marked crosswalks when available or cross streets at intersections. Pedestrians need to be assertive while preparing to cross and alerting motorists that you are ready to cross.
“Everyone is a pedestrian at some point in the day. We need to remain alert and aware in an environment teaming with motorists and cyclists. So much can happen in a moment; the consequences of which will last a lifetime,” said Dave Robley, director, Douglas County Public Works and a member of Safe Communities and Active Living Douglas County.
“Speeding through a red light is illegal and dangerous. That’s why we are asking cyclists to stop at red lights and follow the same laws that motor vehicles do,” said Scott Dietz with the Alexandria Bike Club and a member of Active Living Douglas County. “If you’re running a red light on a bike, you’re blowing it for everybody.”
Bicyclists need to obey all signs and traffic signals. They should not ride against traffic and should use hand signals when stopping or making turns. Bicyclists should wear a helmet and using lights at night will ensure motorists can see them.
“Motorists need to remember that they are required to stop and yield for pedestrians in crosswalks, obey all posted speed limits, traffic signs, traffic signals and yield to pedestrians and bicyclists when making turns” said Captain Scott Kent with Alexandria Police Department and a member of Douglas County Safe Communities “We’re teaming up with pedestrian, bicycling, and driving groups to say that no matter how you move, go safe, hang up when you drive and pay attention.”
The Street Smart campaign is supported by grants from West Central Wellness SHIP (Statewide Health Improvement Program), Douglas County Safe Communities and Active Living Douglas County. Street Smart also promotes the use of walking, biking, and other forms of alternative transportation. Fewer cars on the roads means better air quality, less traffic, fewer traffic incidents and healthier children.