Camas police to increase pedestrian safety efforts

CAMAS — With Fall conditions in full effect, Camas Police will be increasing enforcement efforts with respect to pedestrian safety. Less daylight hours and wet road conditions require that both motorists and pedestrians use extra caution.

“We know that Camas citizens are regularly out navigating our streets on foot,’’ read a press release from the Camas Police Department. “With children walking to school, people exercising, and foot-traffic around the downtown businesses; we believe it’s important to try to create as safe an environment as possible for our citizens.”

Auto versus pedestrian accidents are on the rise in the United States. Many factors may contribute to these statistics; including demographics, weather, fuel prices, the amount of motor vehicle traffic, and the amount of time people spend walking.

A more recent component adding to pedestrian crashes is the growing use of cell phones, which can be a significant source of distraction for both drivers and pedestrians. According to ‘The Wireless Association’, the reported volume of annual wireless data usage increased 26 percent from 2013 to 2014, and the number of annual multimedia messages increased by 58 percent.

Patrol officers have been asked to pay particular attention to violations that affect pedestrian safety. Police also have some specific enforcement efforts planned for the downtown Camas area in the upcoming months.

Safety Tips:

  • Pedestrians can increase their visibility at night by carrying a flashlight when walking and by wearing reflective clothing.
  • Whenever possible, cross the street at a designated crosswalk or intersection.
  • It is much safer to walk on a sidewalk or path, but if a sidewalk or path is not available, walk on the shoulder and face towards oncoming traffic.
  • Stay alert. Don’t count on motorists or pedestrians to always obey the traffic laws
  • Avoid using cell phones while driving or walking.

Here is a summary of some of Washington’s pedestrian laws:

  • Traffic signals -Pedestrians must obey traffic signals and traffic control devices unless otherwise directed by a traffic or police officer (RCW 46.61.050).
  • Sidewalks – Drivers and bicyclists must yield to pedestrians on sidewalks and in crosswalks (RCW 46.61.261).
  • Pedestrians on roadways – Pedestrians must use sidewalks when they are available. If sidewalks are not available, pedestrians must walk on the left side of the roadway or its shoulder facing traffic (RCW 46.61.250).
  • Bolting into traffic – No pedestrian or bicycle shall suddenly leave a curb and move into traffic so that the driver can not stop (RCW 46.61.235).
  • Drivers exercise due care – Every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary (RCW 46.61.245).
  • Stop for pedestrians at intersections – Vehicles shall stop at intersections to allow pedestrians and bicycles to cross the road within a marked or unmarked crosswalk (RCW 46.61.235). See Washington’s Crosswalk Law for more information.
  • Yield to vehicles outside intersections – Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway (RCW 46.61.240).

Statistics:

  • Pedestrian fatalities in the U.S. are on the rise. The number of pedestrian fatalities increased 19 percent from 2009 to 2014, a period in which total traffic deaths decreased by about 4 percent.
  • Pedestrians killed in U.S. motor vehicle crashes increased approximately 10 percent in 2015 (compared with 2014).
  • 72 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred in the dark (2015).
  • In 2015, 5 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes in Clark County (1 in Camas).

About The Author

Joanna Nicole Yorke is a 2010 graduate of the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism with a minor in political science. Yorke is a Clark County native, growing up on her family's 12-acre farm in La Center where her family still resides today. She was previously a reporter at The Reflector Newspaper, covering the city of Battle Ground, the Battle Ground School District and a variety of other areas and topics.

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