CPD: Number of pedestrian fatalities triple

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Chattanooga Police say the number of pedestrians killed by cars has tripled since this time last year.

Many don’t realize that it is legal to cross without a crosswalk, but only if there’s a business or side street that doesn’t have a stop light or sign.

But this has become a big issue especially in the Chattanooga area recently.

“I don’t care what the speed is. It’s dangerous for everyone,” Chattanooga Police Sergeant Justin Kilgore said. “So our thing is use cross walks. Wait for signals. Or just don’t cross the street. If that’s your only option, do it safely. Don’t try to run out in front of traffic. Don’t think that you can beat a car.”

According to police, at this time last year, only two people died from being hit by a car. This year, the number is already at six.

If you have to run or walk by the road, police remind you to do so against the flow of traffic and ride your bikes with traffic — and don’t cross the road unless it’s absolutely necessary.

As for drivers, it’s simple — pay attention.

“It’s not just texting,” Kilgore said. “It’s getting on your phones, using your phone in any capacity that’s distracting you from what’s going on around you. Kids in the backseat. Other people in the car. Eating. Putting on your makeup. Anything that’s taking your eyes off the road is a distraction. So if you’re being distracted by that, you’re not paying attention to the pedestrians who are trying to cross the road whether legal or illegally.”

Kilgore also recommends wearing bright colors or a reflective vest while by the road, so that drivers have an easier time seeing you.

The Chattanooga Police Department offers the following safety tips for pedestrians & bikers:

  • Always use the crosswalk, preferably at an intersection controlled by a traffic signal/stop sign
  • Remove or turn down the volume on earbuds and don’t text while walking
  • Remember to wait for the walk/green light for pedestrians, which means DO NOT enter the crosswalk on the solid red hand signal
  • Look both ways before crossing
  • Always try to get a visual commitment from the driver before crossing, even when you have the right of way
  • There are many miles of dedicated bike lanes in Chattanooga, use them
  • Wear a bike helmet while cycling
  • Be aware of sun glare or other weather conditions that may degrade a driver’s vision
  • Parents should plan their child’s route if they walk or cycle to school (Identify best places to cross roadways)
  • Wear bright or reflective clothing when biking or walking to make yourself more visible to drivers

Tips for Drivers

  • Follow the speed limit, schools have reduced speed zones around them
  • Stop for school buses – when the red lights are flashing that means stop
  • STAY OFF THE PHONE – A law enacted in January 2018 makes it a misdemeanor to use hand-held mobile phones in active school zones. The active times for school zones varies from 7:00 – 8:45 a.m. and 2:15 – 4:00 p.m.
  • Watch for School Patrol Officers and obey their signs
  • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and do not block a crosswalk. A pedestrian in the crosswalk has the right of way.
  • Don’t double park to let children out of a car. Double parking blocks visibility for other children and vehicles.
Categories: Local News

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