Letter: Safety concerns of drivers & pedestrians

Long ago, there were only a few cars on our local roads. Today, cars or trucks and pedestrians are everywhere. To be safe, can we please follow some common-sense rules of the road?

Drivers: When passing pedestrians on local roads, slow down and stay in your lane. Do not pull into the oncoming traffic lane: a dangerous move for you and everyone. Roads are wide enough for drivers to pull toward the center line, and if the driver has slowed enough, you can safely pass pedestrians.

Pedestrians: “Walk facing the oncoming traffic.” That old rule still holds. You can see the drivers. You won’t get hit from behind.

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If you’re in a group, split up and walk single file until the car passes. If you have a dog or stroller, stay as close to edge of road as possible until the car passes. Watch the driver.

I’m on our roads a lot, as a driver and a pedestrian (solo, walking a dog or walking with friends). As a ped, I’m terrified when drivers pull into the oncoming traffic lane to pass. (Crash, crunch.) On curving roads, there are limited sightlines and fast-moving cars may appear suddenly from the other direction. If I’m walking on the edge of the road, why risk your life and other lives driving on the wrong side?

As a driver, I’m disheartened when pedestrian groups take over the road, forcing drivers into the wrong lane to get by. We don’t have sidewalks, so peds, we need to be aware of drivers – and vice versa.

Bottom line: Share the space, safely.

Elisabeth Ellis
Saugerties


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There are 2 comments

  1. andrew cowan

    Good article; I’ve definitely noticed many more bicyclists on the roads in Saugerties. I’m assuming these are either weekender’s or recent transplants as there were virtually none until the last year or two. Unfortunately most of the roads aren’t safe for cyclists – most are one lane in each direction, often double yellow lined and have no shoulder. Harry Wells is a relevant example. The speed limit is 40 mph and its a narrow fairly well trafficked road with no shoulder as all. The several times I’ve been on it when cyclists are on it drivers are faced with having to drive over the double yellow to give safe passing distance for the cyclist while at the same time trying to negotiate an oncoming car, camper or truck- none have any where to go. Same thing when I’ve been surprised on Hommelville Rd, a very narrow hilly and twisty road with several blind curves- occasionally they’ll be a cyclists careening downhill suddenly popping up in the middle of the one lane road as they come through a blind corner- super dangerous. The cyclist will lose in any of these scenarios and the driver of the car may likely somehow be ticketed or sued. I continue to think cyclists should be allowed only on roads with bike lanes for the safety of both the cyclist and the vehicle drivers. The false sense of security and or entitlement to ride anywhere that many cyclists have isn’t enough to protect them adequately from and encounter with a 5000 pound car.

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