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Drivers, pedestrians equally impact traffic safety

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Traffic safety plays a big role in the 21st Security Forces Squadron mission. Drivers have likely seen patrols outside the gates or in housing. They are not only looking for speeders or drivers using mobile devices without an approved hands-free device, but they are also watching pedestrian traffic. We are in the middle of summer now and there are a lot of people on the roads. These people not only include drivers and vehicle passengers, but also cyclists, runners, walkers, children on skateboards and others. Although there have not been any pedestrian-related traffic accidents in the recent past here on Peterson, outside the gates it's a different story.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2010, 4,280 pedestrians were killed in the United States. Closer to home, according to the City of Colorado Springs website, in 2012, of the 28 traffic crashes involving a death in Colorado Springs, 11 of those crashes resulted in 13 pedestrian deaths. Even more astounding is the fact that the pedestrian was deemed to be the cause of the accident in seven of those 11 accidents.

In an effort to promote safe pedestrian practices, the 21st SFS has a "rules of the road" reminder when it comes to pedestrian traffic. In addition to Air Force and local traffic instructions, Colorado law also applies to motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic on Peterson AFB. With regard to crossing intersections, pedestrians are subject to traffic and pedestrian-control signals and must obey them, unless otherwise directed by a police officer. Pedestrians failing to comply with traffic standards are in violation of Colorado State law and have committed a class B traffic infraction.

Pedestrians always have the right of way in a crosswalk, but according to Colorado statutes, pedestrians crossing roadways at any point other than within a designated crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway. Additionally, where traffic control signals are present, pedestrians shall not cross between adjacent intersections except in marked crosswalks.

Drivers and pedestrians should be aware that the "Walk" (steady) signal at crosswalks authorizes pedestrians facing the signal to cross the roadway and be given the right-of-way. The "Don't Walk" (steady) signal indicates that no pedestrian shall enter the roadway. When the "Don't Walk" indication is flashing, pedestrians are prohibited from starting to cross the roadway. Pedestrians already within the roadway shall proceed to a sidewalk or safety island. Pedestrians should be cautious and look both ways prior to entering the roadway. Additionally, they must face traffic and should cross only when safe.

The bottom line is that we all play a role in the safety of the personnel and property on Peterson AFB. Help us help you stay safe on the road.

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