Lighting and Visibility; Safety from Dawn to Dusk

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by Staff Neighborhood Safety Reporter


The shortest daylight of the year (Winter Solstice on Dec 21st) is behind us, but it’s still dark and gloomy. The NW cloud cover is partly to blame! Seattle tops the list of cloudiest large cities in the United States.

Low light and poor visibility are common safety issues. For students and commuters, the short days mean coming and going in the dark.

In the past decade, someone was killed or seriously injured on Bellevue’s streets every 17 days!

https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/14093429038345039816d6d72a02df77

Today’s safety feature will be divided into two segments; this week we’ll focus on pedestrian safety; next week on driver safety.

Part 1: Pedestrian Safety (this includes those who ‘roll’ on bicycles, scooters, etc)

Bellevue has been designated as a ‘Walk Friendly Community.’ In 2020, Bellevue approved a “Vision Zero Strategic Plan” to eliminate traffic fatalities or serious injuries by 2030. The approach rests on four pillars; Safe Speeds, Safe People, Safe Vehicles, and Safe Streets.

https://bellevuewa.gov/city-news/bellevue-designated-walk-friendly-community

Regardless of safety implementations, pedestrians need to watch out and walk smart!

Here are some tips for pedestrians (and those who ‘roll’ on bicycles, scooters, etc):

__ If possible, shift your routine so you're out during daylight hours

__ Carry a flashlight. Consider wearing a headlamp or LED Beanies for hands-free illumination. Attach lights to your bicycle or scooter.

__ Dress in light colors. Put reflective tape on your jacket, bike or scooter. Consider reflective gear for your pets, too: collar, leash or garments.

__ Opt for safe pedestrian routes; with sidewalks, well-maintained walking/biking lanes, good lighting and reduced speed limits. If none are available, walk facing traffic.

__ Before you enter a crosswalk, make sure traffic has stopped, even though the signal has changed. Make eye contact with the driver! Beware of cars making turns. Intersections don't need to be painted to "count" as a crosswalk.

__ Don’t jaywalk; it might save you time, but it is also a ticketable traffic offense as well as a safety hazard.

__ Turn down earbuds so you can clearly hear traffic approaching.

__ Walk with your head up. Don’t use your phone to text, read or talk. You might be surprised how much more interesting the world looks beyond your device!

__ Be extra careful around dawn or dusk, as drivers may have the rising or setting sun in their eyes.

__ Consider using a safety APP on your phone; a simple solution allowing your family or friends to keep an eye on you.

https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/best-apps-safe-walking-alone/

__ Know the pedestrian ‘rules of the road:’

https://wsdot.wa.gov/travel/bicycling-walking/walking-rolling-washington/pedestrian-laws-safety

https://wsdot.wa.gov/travel/bicycling-walking/bicycling-washington/bicyclist-laws-safety

Next week: Part 2: Lighting and Visibility: Driving Safety from Dawn to Dusk

——— ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ———

https://sunrise-sunset.org/us/seattle-wa

https://www.currentresults.com/Weather-Extremes/US/cloudiest-cities.php

https://urban.uw.edu/news/is-seattle-really-the-gloomiest-city-in-america-psychological-data-debunk-finding/

https://wsdot.wa.gov/travel/bicycling-walking/walking-rolling-washington/pedestrian-laws-safety

https://americawalks.org/resources/benefits-of-walking/

https://pemco.com/blog/pedestrian-responsibilities

https://vethelpdirect.com/vetblog/2021/10/01/whats-the-best-reflective-clothing-for-dogs/

https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/lifestyle/high-visibility-clothing-and-gear-for-you-and-your-dog/

https://www.vox.com/2015/1/15/7551873/jaywalking-history

Bicycle: https://pemco.com/blog/bicycle-lighting-for-the-winter-weather

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