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The Creek Beat: Be Smart When Crossing The Street

There's a big temptation, especially in downtown Walnut Creek, to run across busy roads... but it's not a good idea

These pedestrians are wisely using the crosswalk on Main Street in downtown Walnut Creek
These pedestrians are wisely using the crosswalk on Main Street in downtown Walnut Creek
A pedestrian accident last week in downtown Walnut Creek reminded me of some fundamental rules when it comes to walking in our town.

The most important: Don't jaywalk.

In other words, use a crosswalk. Don't walk against the light.

If you and a car collide, the metal vehicle will win. It weighs more than you and it's going faster than you are.

In last week's accident, a man in his 70s was hit by a car as he crossed North California Boulevard between Ygnacio Valley Road and Pringle Avenue.

That's right. Between those two streets. As in mid-block. As in not in a crosswalk.

The man was injured, but fortunately he will recover. He could have easily died.

I don't know the exact circumstances of this particular incident, but if you know that section of North California Boulevard, you know that wide, busy road is not one you want to cross in mid-block without the protection of a crosswalk, light or even a stop sign.

This isn't unusual. I see pedestrians risking their health all the time in Walnut Creek.

Main Street is a common arena. In the core downtown area, the street is only one lane in each direction and the cars aren't traveling that quickly, so the temptation is to bolt across the street between crosswalks.

Not a good idea. A car going even 15 miles per hour can cause a lot of damage to skin and bones.

I've seen people walk against the lights downtown, too. A few months ago, a young woman was texting and stepped right into a Main Street crosswalk as the light turned green.

She never looked up. Fortunately for her, the driver of the car sitting at the light saw her and didn't roll forward.

I even saw a father and several children dart across Civic Drive the other afternoon after leaving the Civic Park ice skating rink.

I was chatting with Walnut Creek Police Lt. Bryan Hill on Friday. He confirmed for me that jaywalking is a somewhat commonplace occurrence in town. He also said in car vs. pedestrian accidents, the percentage of mishaps in which the pedestrian is at fault is probably higher than most people realize.

I've been a runner for 45 years. In that time, I've learned to run facing traffic. I've also learned to assume the drivers coming my way don't see me.

It's kept me safe for more than 50,000 miles.

Deb wainscott January 12, 2014 at 10:01 PM
Good reminder of what not to do, but its actually just as dangerous crossing at the crosswalk on a green light! Cars do not look for walkers, at all
yikesahootie January 13, 2014 at 01:28 PM
Want to get really scared? Count how many drivers you see talking on their cell phones as you walk around town. Or even texting!

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