MANNING - Pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities and injuries result annually from individuals failing to follow a few simple safety tips.
"Last week, there were three pedestrians hit and killed in the Midlands," said Lance Cpl. David Jones with the …
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"Last week, there were three pedestrians hit and killed in the Midlands," said Lance Cpl. David Jones with the South Carolina Highway Patrol. "That's a high number for January."
Jones said that during the winter months, children and adults are out walking or riding their bicycles after dark. This presents problems in areas where there are no sidewalks.
Jones said that drivers also need to be vigilant. Throughout Clarendon County and its municipalities, many of the streets in residential areas do not have sidewalks, and children who walk to and from school and throughout their neighborhoods are forced to walk along the side of the streets in close proximity to vehicles. Motorists should be cautious when passing pedestrians and bicyclists.
"By law, once the sun sets, all bicyclists should be riding bikes with front and rear lights," Jones said. "They need to be wearing reflective clothing as well as reflectors on their wrists, heels and knees. These are areas that have movement and results in more visibility."
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, South Carolina is ranked among states with the highest rates in pedestrian fatalities. Three years ago, South Carolina went from sixth to the third place on the list followed only by Delaware and Florida in the number of pedestrian deaths each year.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that in 2015, the last year the totals were compiled, the fatality rate for pedestrians in South Carolina was "1.5 times higher than the rate for the entire United States." During 2015, 123 pedestrians were killed statewide.
In 2015, 16 cyclists were killed in motor vehicle accidents in the state. Those numbers resulted in South Carolina having the ninth-highest fatality rate for bicyclists in the nation, 32 percent higher than the national average of 2.5 fatalities per million residents, according to the NHTSA.
The GHSA attributed two likely factors to the high number of pedestrian deaths, cellphone usage and intoxicated drivers. The association said drivers and pedestrians are distracted when both or either one of them are texting or talking on their phones, while intoxicated drivers and pedestrians are a serious danger on the streets and roadways.
"Obeying traffic laws, wearing reflective clothing and reflectors and an overall awareness of your surrounding should help keep both pedestrians and bicyclists safe," Jones said.
Pedestrian Safety Tips
- Obey all traffic signs and signals;
- Walk on sidewalks when possible;
- If no sidewalks are available, walk facing traffic and as far away from traffic as possible;
- Look for cars in all directions, particularly those turning right or left;
- Be visible at all times and never assume that a driver sees you;
- Be aware of cars entering, exiting and backing from driveways and parking lots; and
- Wear light or brightly colored clothing and reflectors on wrists, heels and knees.
Bicycle Safety Tips
- Ride with the flow of traffic - NEVER ride against traffic;
- Use bike lanes or designated bike routes when possible;
- Avoid riding too close to parked cars;
- Obey all traffic signs;
- Wear protective equipment including a bike helmet;
- Wear bright clothing with reflectors placed on wrists, heels and knees;
- Place reflectors on your bike; and
- All bikes must have front and rear lights if ridden after sunset.
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