Pedestrian safety falls into three categories: self protection, vehicle hazards and city-created issues.

Pedestrians can protect themselves: be aware of traffic, use the crosswalk on the green walk light, don’t be distracted by cell phones, don’t assume drivers see you, and wear light colored clothes after dark.

Drivers need to be alert, especially when turning. Bicyclists should stay off sidewalks, as you cannot hear bikes, and obey traffic signs (I’ve been nearly hit multiple times crossing Ocean Avenue by bikes running red lights).

The city can improve safety by creating consistency: all pedestrian signals should automatically turn green, and many residents and visitors don’t know when they must push a button to cross.

In addition, walk lights inconsistently change relative to traffic signals; some allow enough time to cross after changing to a steady don’t walk light.

Being consistent lets pedestrians know what to expect. This is especially important at left turn signals, such as at Fourth Street and Wilshire. There are also crosswalks in need of improved lighting so drivers can see pedestrians both in the street and approaching a crosswalk after dark. Use of a city-supplied reflective arm band may also help.


Jim Gerstley

Santa Monica

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