Pedestrian Awareness in New Hope
When the weather is nice people are more active outside, and that’s why the New Hope Police Department wants to remind everyone about pedestrian safety. Officer Brad Kallio says for motorists especially, “the big thing is to try to limit distractions. The huge one obviously is cell phones, and Minnesota now has the hands-free law. But, you know, there’s any number of other distractions that you can experience while your driving: your kids in the backseat fighting, the dogs are trying to jump out the window, whatever it is, taking your attention away from a possible jaywalker or a child running across the road or an animal crossing the road, or the stop sign that you didn’t expect to see and you wind up running it.” Drivers should also obey the speed limit, and be aware of traffic lights and crosswalks, giving pedestrians the right of way. And don’t use bike lanes as turning or passing lanes. But pedestrian safety is a two-way street, so to speak. While drivers need to be alert to pedestrians, pedestrians need to watch out for their own safety as well. Never assume that a motorist sees you, use sidewalks and walking paths, cross streets at crosswalks, and Kallio adds, “be visible, especially if you’re walking early in the morning or at dusk or late into the night. There’s so many things that you could do. You could get a reflective vest or have a light. There’s dog collars that have reflective lights on them. You know, just making yourself as visible as possible.” And Officer Kallio cautions people to be extra alert if you wear headphones while walking or running, and remember those liflelong lessons, “Double, triple check if you have to cross the road, even if you are on a crosswalk. We’ve learned since we were little to look both ways before crossing a road, and that’s a lesson that should never escape us.” If you have concerns about a traffic safety issue in the city, report it at http://www.newhopemn.gov/tip411, or call the New Hope Police Department at 763-531-5170.