Crosswalks designed to improve safety

One of the most problematic areas of traffic for police and fire departments alike are residential crosswalks. Crosswalks are designed to give drivers and walking pedestrians a safe area to cross from one side of the road to the other.

Specifically speaking in Boulder City, our areas of greatest interest are around the schools. Knowing the laws around your crosswalks as well as teaching safe techniques in crossing the street will lead to overall safer roads in Boulder City.

One of the great perks of living in Boulder City is knowing you can allow your child of almost any age to walk to and from school. As a soon-to-be father I rest easier at night knowing when my child is old enough to walk to school he will be able to do so safely. The school district provides men and women at the crosswalks to assist with stopping traffic and assisting the students across the street. These men and women are at the crosswalks before and after school and take great pride in the professional work they do.

As a driver you should know that Boulder City recently passes two new laws regarding school zones. Those two new laws are no U-turns in crosswalks, and no passing other vehicles in the school zone.

No U-turns in the crosswalk law help the professional crossing guard keep an eye on the flow of traffic and he/she will not be surprised with a vehicle he or she didn’t see. The crossing guard’s detail is to direct traffic in the most appropriate and safest manner possible, and you like to minimize the number of vehicles crossing the crosswalks.

No passing in the school zone also will help keep the heavy-footed driver from pressing his luck in the school zone, forcefully keeping his speed limit to the posted speed.

When crossing crosswalks with a crossing guard make sure you follow their directions. Cross the street only when directed by the crossing guard. They have the ability to stop traffic and give you the safest opportunity to pass without incident.

If you are riding a bike, step off of your bike and walk it across to the next corner. Make sure you are checking both directions for cars. With or without a crossing guard their can still be potential for accidents to happen. Take the extra time to check both directions and make sure it is clear to cross.

While walking across the street, do so in a quick and efficient manner. This is no time to play games or walk leisurely across the street. Your job is to cross the street safely and move on. There’s no need to tempt fate or risk a potential injury.

Drivers remember, crossing guards have the right to stop traffic to assist anyone across the street. They are not maliciously holding you at the stop sign to ruin your day. Be patient; there is no need to honk or name call at any one who is simply trying to do his or her job, specifically keeping our children safe.

Please slow down. The single most important thing you can do as a driver through the school zone is slow down. Your reactions and driving responses will increase and the number of accidents will decrease.

Help keep this city safe. Help keep our kids safe. If you have any questions or comments about the school zone or crosswalks, please feel free to contact me at the fire house at 702-293-9228. Thanks!

Brian Shea is a Boulder City paramedic/firefighter.