Bellingham ranks 21st among cities across the country with the highest rates of bicycle commuting. And it’s precisely because of this reality that making certain changes to crosswalks and bike lanes is essential to keep people safe.
Recently, Bellingham officials reported they are improving city safety in a series of different ways.
While officials will expand many roads’ bike lanes, they will also expand crosswalks. That will help keep pedestrians safe. In addition, some parking will be eliminated so officials can address other issues such as curbside tree roots. These roots are damaging sidewalks along the waterfront. And because the sidewalk issue puts pedestrians at risk, this is considered one of the most important steps toward making roads safer to everyone.
Despite these additions and changes, many drivers will unfortunately continue to drive carelessly, exposing bicycle riders and pedestrians to major risks.
While we’re sure these changes will make a major difference in the lives of bicycle riders and pedestrians, we’re also sure that accidents will continue to happen unless drivers — and bicyclists and pedestrians too — pay attention to road rules.
Sharing the road is essential in keeping it safe. And distracted drivers wcannot pay attention to where they are going. No wonder so many accidents involving bicycle riders happen after a driver allows distractions to take over.
The same happens with pedestrians.
Many drivers ignore pedestrians crossing the street, especially at night, because they are not paying attention. Another issue is visibility. Many drivers fail to yield to pedestrians at night or at dusk because they can’t see people because they are wearing dark clothing.
In order to help avoid accidents, pedestrians should wear bright, even reflective clothing while walking outside at night. They should also never listen to music on headphones. That will make it harder for pedestrians to hear approaching cars.