With school starting on Wednesday for many in Chattanooga, Chattanooga Police say streets are becoming increasingly congested with cars, bicycles, and pedestrians. The Chattanooga Police Department wants to drivers, bikers, and walkers to exercise caution especially during student drop-off and pick-up times.
Drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians should abide traffic laws and follow common sense safety guidelines year round, but especially during the school year when pedestrian traffic increases.
To date in 2018, the CPD says Traffic Officers have responded to more pedestrian fatalities than during the same time in 2017. A chart provided by the CPD shows that from January 1st, 2017 to August 7th, 2018, 69 pedestrians were struck by vehicles, and two people died. By comparison, in 2018 between the same two dates, 66 pedestrians were struck, and six of them died.
Pedestrian related collisions can be minimized by using sidewalks, crossing at crosswalks, and waiting for the “walk” signal.
The Chattanooga Police Department offers the following safety tips for pedestrians & bikers:
- Always use the crosswalk, preferably at an intersection controlled by a traffic signal/stop sign
- Remove or turn down the volume on earbuds and don't text while walking
- Remember to wait for the walk/green light for pedestrians, which means DO NOT enter the crosswalk on the solid red hand signal
- Look both ways before crossing
- Always try to get a visual commitment from the driver before crossing, even when you have the right of way
- There are many miles of dedicated bike lanes in Chattanooga, use them
- Wear a bike helmet while cycling
- Be aware of sun glare or other weather conditions that may degrade a driver's vision
- Parents should plan their child's route if they walk or cycle to school (Identify best places to cross roadways)
- Wear bright or reflective clothing when biking or walking to make yourself more visible to drivers
Tips for Drivers
- Follow the speed limit, schools have reduced speed zones around them
- Stop for school buses - when the red lights are flashing that means stop
- STAY OFF THE PHONE - A law enacted in January 2018 makes it a misdemeanor to use hand-held mobile phones in active school zones. The active times for school zones varies from 7:00 - 8:45 a.m. and 2:15 - 4:00 p.m.
- Watch for School Patrol Officers and obey their signs
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and do not block a crosswalk. A pedestrian in the crosswalk has the right of way.
- Don't double park to let children out of a car. Double parking blocks visibility for other children and vehicles.