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Pedestrian Safety Signs: Protecting Vulnerable Residents

Although we often hear about the numbers of drivers and passengers injured or killed in car wrecks each year, pedestrian accidents seem to go unnoticed.  In actuality, there are thousands of pedestrian injuries and fatalities every year because of car wrecks.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2008, more than 4,300 pedestrians were killed and another 69,000 were injured in a car accident on U.S. roads.  When broken down, this equals an average of one pedestrian injury every 8 minutes and a death every other hour.  Those are staggering statistics.  Fortunately, we can take steps to prevent these dangerous and life-threatening wrecks from happening by working to install pedestrian safety signs.

In-street pedestrian signs, crosswalk enhancements, and other posted signs can do wonders for improving the safety of our roads.  Some types of pedestrian safety signs include:

• “Stop here for pedestrians” or “Yield here for pedestrians.”  These are placed along in the middle of the road approaching a crosswalk, either on the centerline or on the median.  They encourage oncoming drivers to slow down or stop for crossing pedestrians.

Beacons.  These can either be mounted to the right side of the road or overhead on a traffic signal pole.  Using flashing lights, a neon sign, and various kinds of verbiage, these indicate a crosswalk is installed and pedestrians may be nearby.

School zone signs.  These indicate that a school or facility with young children is in the vicinity.  Typically, during the hours leading up to when the school day starts and for the few hours after school has let out, these signs will light up, indicating schoolchildren are in the area.  Usually, school zone signs have a lower posted speed limit that drivers must abide by when lights are flashing.

Pedestrian warning signs.  These give drivers advance notice that a crosswalk or popular pedestrian crossing is coming, allowing them to slow down and be on the lookout.  These can include an arrow, pedestrian symbol or other verbiage to indicate pedestrians are ahead.

Crosswalk signals.  These electronic signals are used to guide pedestrians as to when it is safe to cross the street.  Usually used at intersections with traffic signals installed, these signals alert a pedestrian when it’s OK to cross by showing a lit-up symbol of a pedestrian or the words “walk.”  When it is not safe to cross, the sign will display a hand or “don’t walk,” indicating pedestrians should stop and wait to cross.

Pedestrian countdown signal.  Similar to basic crosswalk signals, these indicate when a pedestrian can and cannot cross the street safely.  An added benefit of these signs, however, is that they offer pedestrians a countdown, letting them know just how long they have until the “stop” symbol comes back on and it is unsafe to cross.  This helps to prevent pedestrians from entering a street they do not have enough time to fully cross.

Stop or yield paddles.  Usually used by crossing guards at busy intersections or outside of schools, these handheld paddle signs help to direct traffic and encourage drivers to stop and yield when passengers are crossing the street.

These and other pedestrian safety signs can greatly improve the likelihood that nearby drivers will yield to crossing pedestrians.  According to a study by the Transportation Research Record, daytime drivers were 30 to 40 percent more likely to stop for pedestrians when signs or beacons were installed; at night, drivers were 8 percent more likely.  Additionally, pedestrians were more likely to actually make use of a crosswalk when it was marked with a sign, beacon, or signal.

There are many types of pedestrian safety signs that can help ensure roadways are a hazard-free environment for residents.  Contact Impact Recovery Solutions today to learn more about what pedestrian safety signs could work for your community.