Five Methods of Increasing Road Safety in Your Neighborhood
Despite the numerous lockdowns and people staying indoors more often, there was a marked increase in pedestrian deaths in 2020. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, over 6,700 pedestrians died in 2020, an increase of almost 5 percent over the previous year. Road safety is a huge concern for many communities, from large cities to homeowners’ associations. Because city ordinances or state legislature can take forever to become effective, your community may wish to address the matter on its own. If you are active in your community and passionate about road safety, you can spearhead such efforts yourself.
Below are five ways you can consider when you’re improving the safety of pedestrians in your community.
1. Enforce Helmet Wearing
Pedestrians aren’t the only ones in danger from reckless drivers or automobile accidents. Your community can have many people who use bicycles to travel or stay fit. But cyclists run the risk of getting hit by cars, and they need all the protection they can get. This is why it’s shocking to learn only 29 percent of adults who use bicycles wear their helmets at all times.
Cyclists who don’t wear their helmets, even for short trips around the neighborhood, run the risk of needing an attorney for brain injuries in case they ever get hit by a large or fast vehicle. You can begin your road safety campaign by mandating cyclists to wear helmets whenever they take to the streets on their bicycles. This can help save lives and is an excellent first step in decreasing injury risks.
2. Limit Truck Speed
Trucks get a bad reputation, but there are reasons people don’t like them zooming around neighborhoods. For once, many truckers often run tight deadlines and need to get to their destinations quickly, hence the need to speed. Second, the construction of high-profile vehicles like trucks makes it harder to see pedestrians. If your neighborhood is adjacent to a route truckers take, you may want to ensure they don’t urn down a pedestrian because they’re speeding. The best way to do so is to limit how fast they can go while they’re in your community. Granted, there are federal and state laws that already cover this. However, making it an enforced rule in your community can make violators less likely. Put up posters and encourage neighbors to report any trucks going beyond recommended speed limits.
3. Control Vehicle Entrance
Some major avenues and thoroughfares connect with neighborhoods, tempting motorists to use them as shortcuts. While there is nothing inherently wrong with driving through a community as a shortcut, sometimes these drivers are in a rush or have no idea of the regular flow of traffic in the area. This makes it easier for them to get into accidents when they’re zooming around or going the wrong way done one-way streets.
Your homeowners’ association can control which kinds of vehicles can enter your neighborhood, especially if you are a gated community. You can hand out stickers and help identify motorists allowed to drive into your community or have specified hours when outside vehicles can pass through the area. Limiting the number of vehicles going through your community can decrease incidents involving incidents and make it safer to walk.
4. Easy on the Stop Signs
A stop sign might seem like a great way to encourage drivers to slow down. However, research has revealed they can be more dangerous. Stop signs at intersections are meant to dictate the flow of the intersection, signaling which road has the priority. However, more drivers tend to zoom through intersections with stop signs to beat other motorists to the punch. Too many stop signs in an area also make motorists ignore them out of frustration. If you want to petition your community for a stop sign, ensure that it’s going to a strategic location that needs it.
5. Fix Potholes
The condition of the roads in your neighborhood is also a factor in improving pedestrian and driver safety. After all, it can be difficult to maintain a safe speed or control of a vehicle if the road is in a state of disrepair. Potholes are a particularly dangerous type of road damage. Drivers attempting to avoid large potholes can accidentally drive onto the sidewalk or sideswipe vehicles. They can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles if they hit the potholes at speed. Always check your streets for potholes and report them to the relevant authorities. Getting them repaired can prevent needless injuries and deaths.
Road safety is often framed as an individual concern when it should be the concern of everyone in a community. Being active in your neighborhood can help prevent injuries and even save lives.