87°F
weather icon Clear

Pedestrians must take careful steps to stay safe

Pedestrian safety is a team effort.

Last year was not a good year afoot.

In Clark County, 78 pedestrians were killed, not counting the fatalities on private property such as parking lots. This is a 44 percent increase from 2016.

Nationwide, almost 6,000 pedestrians were killed in 2016 (the latest year national statistics were available), an 11 percent increase from 2015.

Boulder City had no pedestrian fatalities, most likely due to its superb engineering, education and enforcement efforts.

While anecdotes abound as to the causes of the surge in pedestrian fatalities — such as the legalization of marijuana and increase in hand-held device use — it is known that 15 percent of pedestrians are killed by drunken drivers; however, 34 percent of pedestrians are intoxicated when struck.

Regardless of myriad causes in pedestrian fatalities, a team effort is necessary to reduce the carnage. This team effort must be made by pedestrians and motorists.

There are no winners in a vehicle-pedestrian collision, contrary to social media comments such as, “I bet the vehicle won.”

If you are on foot, you can take a few steps (pun intended) to protect yourself.

Before stepping off a curb onto a crosswalk, consider how the military trains its personnel to avoid ambushes. Crossing a hostile area with no cover or concealment places you inside the enemy’s “kill zone.” You’re exposed; they have the high ground and you are an easy target.

Therefore, enter and exit the crosswalk (kill zone) quickly and safely. Watch the drivers carefully, make eye contact and assume they do not see you.

Walking briskly across that intersection, you will pass the tweens, teens and young adults, with their spellbound faces planted in their not-so-smartphones, walking slower than octogenarians.

Motorists must drive defensively. Driving defensively means anticipating the unexpected.

Anticipate the pedestrian running across the intersection at the last second.

Anticipate the “professional” pedestrian, especially in larger, busier cities. They are the ones that wait on the sidewalk for someone, like you, to make a right turn on a red light. You believe they are waiting to cross in the opposite direction. However, as you begin your right turn, they walk into your fender, fall down and scream as if they are in excruciating pain. Now, you’re in a “collision” with a pedestrian, as if your insurance isn’t high enough already.

Don’t lose pedestrian awareness in parking lots. While backing from a parking space, anticipate pedestrian traffic, especially below your eye level. The few seconds you spend taking your time are invaluable. Beware of the distracted person exiting a grocery store. Walking at a brisk pace, they will not stop, look up or check both directions before entering their kill zone.

Likewise, while walking through a parking lot, anticipate a distracted driver carelessly backing out.

One may consider the odds of striking a pedestrian or being struck as a pedestrian to be minuscule. However, it is not the odds, it is the consequences.

Make a lifelong resolution to return home safely every day. Your family, including your four-legged fur-babies, will appreciate your efforts.

Happy new year.

Dan Jennings can be reached at bcpd267@cox.net

THE LATEST
Alumni events, marriage and a real Nazi

Ron’s column from a few weeks ago inspired me to tell a story about a weird event from my past. Mine is not as exciting as his in that there is no wrestler named Silo Sam. But there is at least one Nazi. And, no, not the current “I disagree with your politics so you are a Nazi” version. An actual card-carrying member of the party.

Las Vegas Veterans’ Memorial to Boulder City?

Veterans’ memorials can be found all over the Silver State. They are well deserved. They honor individuals who served the nation, and also commemorate battles and events regarding the many military anniversaries in Nevada.

City manager bids fond farewell

I may be leaving Boulder City, but it was not an easy decision. From the first time I came in and met the staff and community leaders, I saw a city filled with people who truly care about where they live and work. I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to work with some incredible people.

Is the grass always greener?

Many people in the past played a golf game to cement a business deal, didn’t they? They also played golf to socialize. Has Boulder City recognized lessening play on golf courses? Or, from another perspective, what happens when million-dollar homes are placed around our open space golf course with views of the McCullough Mountains? Do fewer people play golf on the Boulder Creek golf course?

Parting is such sweet sorrow

Shakespeare was the man when it came to comedy and tragedy. His ability to make people feel the intense emotions of the characters is still imitated today. The past few months have been filled with a bit of excited anticipation at City Hall as several longtime and high-level employees have found new roles in other acts. I’m here to borrow some Shakespearean lines, the first being from Ophelia, “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” (Hamlet)

Me, my brother and Silo Sam

Recently, I’ve been enjoying watching shows on A&E related to professional wrestling back in the earlier days, with profiles on wrestlers I grew up watching as well as classic rivalries.

Let’s talk about the ‘D Word’

OK, as a starting point, I must note that it’s weird to think that I might be writing something that would put me in agreement with the Language Police.

Make a new plan, Stan

A plan is a method for achieving a desirable objective. It’s a program of action, usually memorialized in writing. Plans start with goals and ideas. But ideas alone (even good ones) don’t constitute a plan.

Time to recognize unsung heroes

We have so many functions within the Boulder City Police Department, from school resource officers to road patrol to the detective bureau. The work that they do keeps Boulder City among the “Safest Cities in Nevada” (newhomesource.com, alarm.com) year after year. One unit is the backbone of our public safety response: Public Safety Dispatchers.

Honoring National Public Health Week

In my eight decades of this amazing life, I have worn a great many hats: son, brother, father, major (USAF), grandfather, council member, state representative, state senator.