The in basket: Claudia Kilburn and Gary Lee think a lot of pedestrians could use a refresher course on walking along a road, especially at night.
Claudia writes, “My step-mom asked me to contact you with a concern. She drives very rarely at night but when she does she is very worried about pedestrians who walk along the road wearing dark clothing. She has even encountered people walking in her lane!
“She has had a couple of close calls and if they were wearing light-colored clothing they would be much easier to see. She has had this problem on Pine Road and McWilliams Road, but I don’t think this is an isolated area where this problem exists,” Claudia said.
Gary said, “On Chico Way where I live, dozens of people walk with their back to traffic.They have no clue about what’s coming and a lot of them have a dog (with them)..
“For heaven sakes,” he said, “walk toward the traffic.”
The out basket: It’s been about 50 years since I went to public school, but I have to think the importance of wearing easily visible clothing while walking on the roadsides at night is still a common caution for children.
If they haven’t gotten the message by now, I doubt that this mention will turn the trick, but I guess it’s worth a try.
Also, while wearing visible clothing as a pedestrian is just good advice, it’s worth noting that walking with your back to approaching vehicle traffic while on the shoulder is actually an infraction for which a person can be fined. It’s a $56 fine, though the law makes it an offense only if walking toward traffic is not “practicable.”
Both Trooper Krista Hedstrom of the State Patrol and Deputy Scott Wilson of Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office say that educating the violators with a warning is more likely, especially if it’s a juvenile.
Scott added, “Notwithstanding what appears to be the de rigueur apparel of a number of young people, ie: blue jeans, dark-colored hooded sweat shirt and a beanie or ball cap, the wearing of some type of reflective material is highly recommended. (1) Drivers usually aren’t expecting to find pedestrians along rural and semi-rural roads and (2) county roadways typically aren’t illuminated by street lights except at certain locations.”