Crossing Safely

We were all thankful when we learned that a pedestrian who was struck by a car on Saturday morning just before 9 on Pantigo Road in East Hampton Village would be okay. However, the circumstances of the accident should serve as a reminder to both drivers and walkers about how fine the line is between safety and tragedy.

According to data drawn from federal reports, more than 5,900 pedestrians were killed in the United States last year; about 129,000 went to hospital emergency rooms for nonfatal injuries. Those most at risk year in and year out are the young and those over 65. And the trends are not good; the Governors Highway Safety Association said that the number of pedestrians killed by motor vehicles hit a 33-year-high in 2017. Increased cellphone use has not been tied to the increasing death and injury toll. Rather, a National Transportation Safety Board report blamed excessive speed and drunken driving.

Crosswalks by themselves are not sufficient protection for people on foot. The victim struck on Saturday was crossing in a designated place and an illuminated crossing sign indicated it was okay for her to proceed. The driver of the vehicle that struck her told police that she just did not see the pedestrian in the crosswalk.

Therein lies the key caution for those on foot: Drivers are as likely not to see you as to see you. Making eye contact is a good idea, and never assume anything when stepping off the sidewalk.