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Still on pedestrian safety, rules for joggers

These crashes occur when physical environments allow pedestrians to come into contact with moving vehicles. If this occurs without check, then a pedestrian-vehicle crash can…

These crashes occur when physical environments allow pedestrians to come into contact with moving vehicles. If this occurs without check, then a pedestrian-vehicle crash can occur. Most, if not all of such problems will be the result of failures of the following: pedestrians who are inattentive or incapable of using the road safely; irresponsible drivers as captured by my good friend from Port Harcourt; and physical environments that encourage unsafe pedestrian and/or driver behavior, or failure to adequately separate pedestrians and vehicles. Addressing these problems will provide relief, promote safety for pedestrians and reduce if not eliminate these crashes.
Since the focus is of this piece is to increase safety awareness, it is imperative for us to address pedestrian behavior which I believe ranks high   though irresponsible driver behavior plays a vital role also. Unsafe pedestrian behavior is a major factor in pedestrian injuries and fatalities whether in low or high income countries. Most studies done on pedestrian vehicle crashes heap about 80 per cent of the blame on pedestrians. For example a study of 7,000 pedestrian-vehicle crashes in Florida, identified pedestrians as responsible for 80 per cent of these incidents. A similar study in the U.K. equally identified pedestrian behavior as responsible for 90 per cent of crashes where a vehicle struck a pedestrian.   
Illegal street-crossing by a pedestrian is often cited as a poor pedestrian behavior that leads to pedestrian injuries and fatalities.   Pedestrian behavior that fits into this classification includes walking against a pedestrian walk signal, crossing a street where there is no crosswalk, crossing a street outside of a marked crosswalk where one is present, and walking on a street along with the traffic flow (ignoring designated pedestrian pathways). There are other unsafe pedestrian behavior which also increases the risk of injury or fatality and these behaviors are among the oddities I observe daily as I jog. They include failure to yield, jogging/walking in the wrong direction which is common not just among joggers but a greater percentage of pedestrians including adults, wearing dark dresses at night or even early in the morning, leaning on a parked car, pushing a disabled car, standing between parked cars, and standing in a road.
It must be said that some pedestrians are truly not even aware of the risk of being injured or killed in a pedestrian-vehicle crash as a result of their behavior. While it is unarguable that unsafe pedestrian behavior is a challenge, I wish to state here that a lot needs to be done by us, parents and school authorities to increase safety awareness and tilt the crash trend involving pedestrians.  
The Revised Highway Code provides some useful guide to pedestrians including fellow joggers. They include ensuring pedestrians find the safest place to cross, crossing the road at a footbridge, island, Zebra crossing, traffic light crossing or where there is a crossing traffic officer. It advises pedestrians to choose a place where they can see clearly along the road in both directions and where motorists can clearly them too; never cross the road on a sharp bend or just before the brow of a hill.
It further says that when you stop, stand a little way back from the kerb, where you will be away from  traffic but where you can still see if anything is coming along the road. This guide reminds me of a campaign embarked upon some years by the Federal Road Safety Corps, codenamed, ’Stop, Look and listen’’ targeted at increasing safety consciousness among school children. That campaign advised these children to ensure that they stop, look in every direction and listen carefully before they cross;  If any traffic is coming, let it pass and don’t cross unless there is a safe gap and you are sure there is plenty of time. When you are sure it is safe, walk straight across the road and never run but keep looking and listening for traffic while you cross until you reach the other side.  
As contained on the page on pedestrian protection in the same Highway Code, pedestrians are urged, while walking in the dark like most joggers do, to wear  or carry white, bright colored or reflective clothing so that they can be easily seen, because  it is difficult for motorists to see a pedestrian dressed completely in dark clothes on the road. Wearing a light-colored jacket or trousers and if possible an item of clothing with a reflective strip on it is also recommended. It is extremely important to ensure that while jogging or walking, you walk on the left side of the road facing oncoming traffic where footpaths are not provided. You must avoid wearing headphones so that you can   hear a traffic before you   see it and if you are wearing headphones, the sounds might drown out the traffic and make you more vulnerable as a pedestrian.
There are inherent dangers in using mobile telephone while using the road by whatever means. It does not matter whether you are talking on a mobile telephone or trying to send a text message while also crossing the road as your attention will not be fully focused on the traffic, leaving you vulnerable as a pedestrian. While these are just some, there are other tips for drivers which includes among others, being a responsible driver.       

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