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IPDC offers safe walking tips after recent accident

Following an accident last week in which a pedestrian was struck in downtown Columbus, the Isothermal Planning and Development Commission (IPDC) has issued some tips for pedestrian safety.
A woman walking her dog last week was struck by a man turning onto Walker Street. The man was cited for leaving the scene of an accident and not making sure the road was clear before turning.
IPDC and Columbus have been working on a pedestrian plan and ways to make the town more walkable.
Following are safety tips for both pedestrians and drivers submitted by Josh King with IPDC:
I was saddened to learn of the (two pedestrian accidents in Columbus) this week. The Isothermal RPO has been working with the Town of Columbus to make walking safer within the town. In 2009 Columbus completed a pedestrian plan with strategies and goals to make our sidewalks and streets safer. With the tireless assistance of a dedicated group of citizens and the campaigning of concerned citizen Kathleen Kent, the town has been exploring options presented in the plan. Even after all of the recommended improvements are made, education maybe our best defense against future pedestrian incidents. Here are some basic tips from the UNC Highway Safety Research Center:
Tips for Pedestrians
Be predictable. Stay off freeways and restricted zones. Use sidewalks where provided. Cross or enter streets where it is legal to do so.
Where no sidewalks are provided, it is usually safer to walk facing road traffic.
Make it easy for drivers to see you – dress in light colors and wear retro-reflective material. It might be wise to carry a flashlight in very dark areas.
Be wary. Most drivers are nice people, but dont count on them paying attention. Watch out – make eye contact to be sure they see you!
Alcohol and drugs can impair your ability to walk safely, just like they do a persons ability to drive.
Use extra caution when crossing multiple-lane, higher speed streets.
Tips for Drivers
You can encounter pedestrians anytime and anywhere – even in places where they are not supposed to be found.
Pedestrians can be very hard to see – especially in bad weather or at night. You must keep a lookout and slow down if you cant see clearly.
When entering a crosswalk area, drive slowly and be prepared to stop.
Stop for pedestrians who are in a crosswalk, even if it is not marked. When you stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, stop well back so that drivers in the other lanes can also see the pedestrian in time to stop.
Do not overtake and pass other vehicles stopped for pedestrians.
When you are turning, you often will have to wait for a “gap” in traffic. Beware that while you are watching for that “gap,” pedestrians may have moved into your intended path.
Be especially attentive around schools and in neighborhoods where children are active.
As the warmer weather approaches please keep these tips in mind and lets work together to make our roads safer for everyone.
For more information please contact Josh King Isothermal Planning and Development Commission jking@regionc.org or (828) 287-2281.