School’s out for many in our region and all around the country. Summer break means a lot more people of all ages, origins, and purposes will be out enjoying all that our area has to offer. Whether young or old, local or visitor, commuter or day tripper, it is essential that we all learn to share our sidewalks, streets, and trails safely--and with a healthy dose of courtesy and common sense--every time we go out.
To help you share the way every day, Arlington’s Car-Free Diet, WalkArlington, and BikeArlington put together these tips on sharing Arlington’s trails, sidewalks, and streets. Here are just a few key pointers for different ways and car-free modes:
When You’re on a Trail (cyclists, walkers, runners, stroller pushers, roller bladers, etc.)
- Keep to the right side of the trail, except when passing.
- Pay attention to all trail markings and safety signs.
When You’re Walking
- Cross the street at marked crosswalks and intersections.
- Begin crossing the street on “WALK.” Do not begin to walk after the upraised hand signal appears. Many Arlington intersections also have countdown traffic signals that show how much time you have left to cross.
- Watch for turning vehicles.
When You’re Biking
- Understand that cyclists are safest when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles.
- Use bike lanes, trails and on-street routes when possible. Ride on sidewalks ONLY when necessary. Always yield to pedestrians when riding on sidewalks.
- Wear a helmet. Helmets dramatically reduce the risk of head injuries in a crash.
- Pass other trail users on their left, leave at least two feet of clearance between you and them. Give an audible warning at least two seconds before passing as you approach, such as saying "passing on your left" or ringing a bike bell. Why? Because pedestrians and other cyclists can't hear a bicycle approaching from behind.
- Obey posted speed limits.
- Be careful when close to parked vehicles. Parked cars can obscure the presence of people about to enter the roadway.
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
- Watch for cyclists and walkers, especially at intersections, crosswalks, and after dark.
Arlington County is concerned about everyone’s safety and the safety of every mode of transportation. Keeping everyone safe is also a concern of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Earlier this month the NHTSA released the Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving. The "blueprint" calls for enacting and enforcing state distracted driving laws; encouraging the 11 states that still don’t have laws against texting to pass laws banning distracted driving; challenging the auto industry to limit vehicle content that the government considers distracting; educating young people about the perils of distracted driving; and continuing a public education campaign that "provides all stakeholders with actions they can take that go beyond personal responsibility to help end distracted driving nationwide."
Whether on two feet, two wheels, or four wheels and whether here in Arlington County or around the country, everyone needs to share our sidewalks, streets, and trails safely. And don’t forget that healthy dose of courtesy and common sense! For more safety tips, visit WalkArlington.com.