Pedestrian safety

August 24, 2006 11:00 pm

The Oregon Department of Transportation awards grants to city police departments to conduct "pedestrian safety campaigns" not to fatten state coffers but to help make the state's streets safer.

We think ODOT and Baker City have had a success on their hands here in recent years. High-profile enforcement, coupled with general good neighborliness, have led to streets where folks often come to a screeching halt to make sure pedestrians can cross safely.

But pedestrian safety isn't just the responsibility of drivers. That's why we appreciated the Baker City Police Department's effort to contact not just motorists, but pedestrians and bicyclists as well.

This is important. Stopping at crosswalks doesn't work for drivers if jaywalkers are darting into traffic mid-block. Crosswalks help both motorists and pedestrians safely and sanely use our public streets. Motorists and pedestrians alike need to behave in predictable ways. That's why we have laws governing the use of our streets.

And bicyclists have to obey the same laws as motorists, something many bicyclists are too young to know. Other bicycle users were irresponsible drivers who are now forced to ride bicycles in lieu of driving. To expect them to be safe cyclists after being unsafe drivers is not safe to assume.

Ultimately, a little courtesy — and a measure of caution — will make our streets as safe as possible for everyone to use.