Re­flec­tive cloth­ing, flash­lights may re­duce pedes­trian deaths

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QHow many pedes­trian and bike deaths could be caused by vic­tims wear­ing all black clothes who could not be seen? If peo­ple stopped wear­ing black or dark clothes, then fewer pedes­tri­ans might be killed. Peo­ple with dark clothes at night are in­vis­i­ble. Maybe they should be re­quired to wear a hat or vest that re­flects like some sneak­ers do. Or maybe carry a flag or um­brella. — A. Goetze, Sunnyvale

AFlags can be used at pedes­trian cross­ings on Lin­coln Av­enue in the Wil­low Glen area of San Jose. Pedes­trian deaths na­tion­wide have in­creased 46 per­cent from 2009 to 2016. Last year in San Jose, pedes­trian and bi­cy­cling fa­tal­i­ties matched the num­ber of homi­cides.

QI’ve been read­ing a lot re­cently about the rise in pedes­trian and bike ac­ci­dents and, based on my ob­ser­va­tions, I think the vic­tims are quite of­ten the cause of them. I was driv­ing at night on Mt. Di­ablo Boule­vard in Wal­nut Creek, and ap­proach­ing a ma­jor cross­walk with a light that’s sup­posed to be pressed be­fore the per­son crosses.

I al­ways take a re­ally good look, and it’s a good thing I do be­cause there was a guy in a dark mo­tor­ized wheel­chair, wear­ing a black jacket and pants, right in the mid­dle of the cross­walk and mov­ing so slowly I could barely see him. — Judy Wobleski, Wal­nut Creek

AWhy the in­crease in pedes­trian deaths? Peo­ple drive more, and the av­er­age risk of death for a pedes­trian reaches 10 per­cent at an im­pact speed of 23 mph, 25 per­cent at 32 mph, 50 per­cent at 42 mph and 75 per­cent at 50 mph.

Pop­u­lar big and heavy SUVs are more dan­ger­ous to pedes­tri­ans. Driv­ers and pedes­tri­ans are dis­tracted by elec­tronic de­vices. Fa­tal pedes­trian crashes oc­cur most of­ten be­tween 6 p.m. and mid­night, and more of­ten on Satur­days.

Nu­mer­ous safety groups rec­om­mend wear­ing bright cloth­ing and car­ry­ing a flash­light. Please do.

Any­thing else?

QThen there are park­ing lots, where pedes­tri­ans for­get that there are cars driv­ing around. Duh! They walk right in front of them with eyes fo­cused ei­ther straight for­ward or on their cell­phones. The fact that they might be walk­ing right into the path of a car never crosses their minds, and it’s done by all age groups.

Re­mind bik­ers and pedes­tri­ans that if their neg­li­gent be­hav­ior causes a car to run into them, they’re go­ing to be the losers. This can be pre­vented by not wear­ing dark cloth­ing when it’s dark and in­vest­ing in a re­flec­tor or lights.

And be­fore you step into the street or in a park­ing lot aisle, please look to see if a car is com­ing.

Thanks for let­ting me air my gripe and hope­fully save some lives. — Judy Wobleski

AI hope your warn­ing does just that.

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