Pedestrian safety is becoming a bigger priority in paradise.
The Honolulu City Council is considering a new law that would ban pedestrians from crossing the street after dark, unless they are in a marked crosswalk or signalized intersection. If passed, Honolulu walkers could be fined $100 for violating the law.
Right now, people can cross the street legally in areas like neighborhoods, where no marked crosswalks exist within 200 feet. Some say it would establish Honolulu as a leader in pedestrian safety law. Others question if the law will really work. In a blog post by StrongTowns, expert planner Don Kostelec asks, “Do the roadways even give people a chance to abide by this law?” Kostelec points out in his book, Twelve Days of Safety Myths, “engineering departments often ignore both context and basic human psychology when insisting that the safest thing for a person on foot to do is use a crosswalk… even when the nearest crosswalk is half a mile out of the way!”
As we’ve told you, the Greater Orlando DMA is the no. 1 most dangerous metro area in the country for pedestrians, and Florida is home to 9 of the 20 deadliest U.S. cities for pedestrians. Best Foot Forward is a behavior change-based program dedicated to turning around these statistics.
While changes in legislation like those considered in Honolulu may or may not be the answer for Florida, it’s important that advocacy for pedestrian safety continues. During Operation Best Foot Forward, local law enforcement targets drivers who don’t yield for pedestrians in marked crosswalks, as Florida law requires. The goal is to get more drivers to yield, thus encouraging more pedestrians to use marked crosswalks.
Through consistent and persistent education, high-visibility enforcement and low-cost engineering changes around the region’s most dangerous crosswalks, we can reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities throughout Central Florida.
Read more about Honolulu’s bill from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser here.