By Maureen Hoffmann, WABI Burien President
These long winter days are short on light, so most of us find ourselves going to and from work, running errands and walking the dog at dusk or in the dark. Crossing the street. Walking through the parking lot. Heading up the sidewalk. Hugging the lane edge on a bike.
Are you invisible?
It’s because of my efforts with WABI that I’ve become even morekeenly aware of pedestrians and cyclists… more than I ever was before. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone crossing the street on a rainy night wearing a dark jacket, pants and shoes. Or the cyclists I’ve seen on dark bikes, wearing dark clothes with no lights or reflectors. Don’t they realize they’re invisible?! There’ve been times it’s been just a backlight, or the flash of a white, plastic grocery bag, or small, reflective decorations on shoes that have made the pedestrian or cyclist apparent in the dark.
- KNOW that it’s hard to see you, so walk and ride with extra caution.
- Choose light-colored clothing when possible.
- Choose a well-lit route.
- Use a white umbrella instead of black.
- Wear shoes and clothing with reflective details.
- Wear reflective vests and flashing lights when you’re out for a walk or ride.
- Be sure that you’re seen. Wave your arms if you have to… the motion will get attention.
- Teach your kids to be aware of their own visibility and dress them accordingly. Teach them to look at what they’re wearing and ask themselves whether they can be seen in the dark or not.
- Put reflective gear on your dog, too.
- Cyclists are REQUIRED by WA. State Law to have proper lights and reflectors:
Riding at Night – For night bicycle riding, a white front light (not a reflector) visible for 500 feet and a red rear reflector are required. A red rear light may be used in addition to the required reflector (RCW 46.61.780).
Motorists: LOOK for Pedestrians and Cyclists! SEE Them.
- As you approach a crosswalk or intersection, slow down and
REALLY LOOK for anyone crossing or waiting to cross.
- When moving through parking lots, drive slowly and
watch for shoppers passing in and out between cars.
- Watch for and give room to cyclists sharing the road or using the bike lanes.
- When it’s late afternoon, and light is just beginning to wane, TURN YOUR HEADLIGHTS ON. You and your car will be more visible, too!
Community safety is in the hands of each and every one of us.
For questions, comments and suggestions, please contact:
Maureen Hoffmann at [email protected]
Thanks to Transportation Nag for the use of the photo of the dark-clothed pedestrian on the stormy night.