Pedestrian Safety

Walking is a fun activity for pedestrians and families of all ages. It’s a healthy and active way to spend time together. Some prefer to walk to get exercise and enjoy the outdoors. Others walk to get to work, to school, or to visit friends and family.

Crossing a street presents many dangers to child pedestrians1. Young children are not capable of understanding the dangers and do not develop the skills necessary for crossing a street safely until they are at least nine years of age. Children between the ages of 5 and 19 have the highest incidence rate of pedestrian-related injury compared to all other ages in Saskatchewan.2 Factors that affect a child’s ability to safely cross the street include vision, hearing, physical height, mental development, and perception.

Pedestrians

As parents and caregivers, it’s important to teach children about pedestrian safety. Always lead by example. Before you go out walking review some of the pedestrian safety tips that CAA has to offer.

  • Be alert and aware of your surroundings.
  • Stop, look both ways, listen and think before safely crossing the street.
  • Ensure all vehicles come to a complete stop and make eye contact with motorist before crossing the street – never assume that drivers can see you or know your intentions.
  • Never run out in traffic or between parked cars, buses, or buildings.
  • Parents, caregivers, or older children should hold hands with younger children when crossing the street.
  • Follow traffic signs and signals. Only cross at designated locations or crosswalks. Do not jaywalk.
  • Eliminate distractions such as using your mobile devices for texting, listening to music, social media, or gaming.
  • Avoid wearing headphones or anything that can obstruct your vision or hearing.
  • At a traffic light, start crossing when the walk light first starts flashing. Do not cross when the final countdown is on signaling the light will change as you will not have enough time to cross the street safely.
  • Allow for extra time to cross the street safely with older adults, individuals with mobility issues and younger children.
  • Dress according to the weather. It’s a good idea to dress in layers, and if you get too warm, simply remove one of the layers.  
  • Wear reflective clothing or accessories at night to make yourself more visible.

Walking your kids to school

Walking to and from school is an active way for children to get their exercise while enjoying the outdoors. Kids who walk build independence and social skills and they move more than kids who are less active. When they walk to school, they arrive energized and ready to learn.3

  • Electronics devices and gadgets can be distracting. Put them in backpacks or leave them at home.
  • Plan a walking route to school with your kids. Parents and caregivers to be sure to point out crosswalks, stop signs, and family or friends’ homes.
  • Be alert when walking and crossing the street.
  • Teach children about the safety rules of the road – always stop, look both ways, listen and think before safely crossing the street.4

More school zone safety tips here.

Drivers and cyclists

  • Always look for pedestrians crossing the road at intersections.
  • Drivers and cyclists must yield to the right of way to pedestrians crossing the street.
  • Watch for children who may dart out in traffic.
  • Be aware of blind spots when making your turns at intersections.
  • Avoid distractions inside and outside of your vehicle.
  • Watch your speed in school zones and residential areas and be prepared for the unexpected.
  • Be cautious around stopped transit vehicles and be courteous to vulnerable pedestrians.
  • Communication (eye contact, indicate turns, etc.) between all road users is important to keep everyone safe.
  • Allow extra time for seniors to cross streets safely. Older pedestrians are more fragile and experience declines in mobility that result in a slower walking pace or the need for walking aids or mobility devices.

More information on Driver Safety can be found here.

More information on Bike and Cyclist Safety can be found here.

CAA Saskatchewan is a dedicated safety advocate for motorists, travellers, and pedestrians. We work with community partners, local and provincial governments to help make conditions safer for everyone on our roads.

References:

  1. Saskatchewan Prevention Institute
  2. Saskatchewan Safety Council
  3. CAA School Zone Safety
  4. CAA Saskatchewan School Zone Safety

With thanks to CAA South Central Ontario.