APD to Launch Pedestrian Safety Initiative

This article was originally published on the Austin American-Statesman. You can view the original article here or read it below:

From the Austin Police Department:

So far in 2015, the City of Austin has experienced four pedestrian traffic fatalities. All have involved pedestrians crossing in areas not designated with a pedestrian cross walk. Beginning today and continuing throughout the year, the Vision Zero Pedestrian Safety Initiative will focus enforcement efforts to ensure everyone using our roadways arrives alive.

Citywide, officers will place more attention on enforcing city ordinances and state laws that prohibit pedestrians from crossing major high speed roadways and at areas not designated as pedestrian crossings. Officers will also focus on drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and those who block intersections.

APD’s Highway Enforcement Division has been working closely with citizens, special interest groups and other City of Austin departments dedicated to reducing pedestrian-related crashes and fatalities. In addition to the Vision Zero program, an aggressive three-pronged approach utilizing education, enforcement and engineering will continue to guide the department’s enforcement efforts.

• The average car traveling on a high speed roadway at 70 MPH can cover a little over 100 feet in a second
• In three seconds, that’s the average length of a football field
• The average human runs at about 11 MPH
• In three seconds, humans can only cover about 48 feet

Pedestrian Safety Tips:
• Only cross as designated locations (crosswalks/pedestrian bridges)
• Follow the directions of pedestrian control devices
• Never try to cross high speed roadways not designed for pedestrians crossing
• Pay attention while crossing the street
• Try avoid distractions while crossing the roadway like texting, making phone calls or tinkering with personal electronic devices
• Always look twice before crossing any roadway or intersection
• Be polite and courteous

Motorist Safety Tips
• Look both ways to ensure the roadway and sidewalks are clear of pedestrians, bicyclists and others sharing the road before proceeding from any intersection or private drive
• Don’t block intersections or crosswalks
• Don’t drive distracted! Austin’s new hands-free ordinance prohibits the use cell phones unless using the hands-free mode
• Be polite and courteous