Opinion

Kenmore community focuses on pedestrian and bicycle safety | Sether

Kenmore Police Chief Cliff Sether - Contributed photo/City of Kenmore
Kenmore Police Chief Cliff Sether
— image credit: Contributed photo/City of Kenmore

The Kenmore community was saddened by recent traffic fatalities in Kenmore. A large crowd of citizens turned out at the March 24 City Council meeting to speak respectfully about the sadness of the fatalities and learn what steps can be taken to improve roadway safety in our community. The Kenmore Police Department has always worked assiduously to make our community one of the safest places to live and will continue to diligently work to maintain that goal. The city of Kenmore is implementing a number of near-term and midterm actions to improve safety and awareness of pedestrians and cyclists in our community, including the installation of rapid flashing beacons (similar to what you see in Kirkland) at arterial crosswalks with no mainline stop control. These actions also include taking a zero tolerance approach to enforcing laws for all road users – motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists. In addition to current Kenmore police officers, we are bringing in a motorcycle patrol officer on overtime to enforce crosswalk laws. Violators will be issued a ticket—no warnings will be given.

It is important for all of us to be reminded of our individual responsibilities as a pedestrian, bicyclist, and motorist.

Motorist laws relating to pedestrians:

1. Fail to yield to pedestrian in crosswalk – The operator of an approaching vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian or bicycle to cross the roadway within a marked or unmarked crosswalk when the pedestrian or bicycle is upon or within one lane or the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is travelling or onto which it is turning.

2. Passing vehicle stopped at crosswalk – Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian or bicycle to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.

3. Drivers to exercise care – Every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person upon a roadway.

Laws relating to pedestrians:

1. Pedestrians subject to traffic regulations – Pedestrians shall be subject to traffic control signals at intersections and shall obey the instructions of any official traffic control device. When the steady or flashing “Don’t Walk or Hand symbol” is displayed, pedestrians facing the symbol shall not enter the roadway.

2. Pedestrians suddenly entering the roadway – No pedestrian or bicycle shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk, run, or otherwise move into the path of a vehicle, which is so close that is impossible for the driver to stop.

3. Pedestrians prohibited crossing street between intersections – Between adjacent intersections at which traffic control signals are in operation, pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.

4. Pedestrians walk facing traffic – Where sidewalks are not provided any pedestrian, walking or otherwise moving along and upon a highway, shall when practical, walk or move only on the left side of the roadway or its shoulder facing traffic which may approach in the opposite direction and upon meeting an oncoming vehicle shall move clear of the roadway.

Laws pertaining to bicycles:

1. Requirement of obey traffic laws – Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle.

2. Bicyclist riding on roadways and bicycle paths – Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway, at a rate of speed less than the normal flow of traffic, at a particular time and place shall ride as near to the right side of the right through lane as is safe, except as may be appropriate while preparing a turning movement.

3. Bicyclist required to wear helmet – Any person operating or riding on a bicycle not powered by motor on a public roadway, bicycle path or on any right-of-way or publicly owned facilities located in King County, shall wear a protective helmet designed for bicycle safety.

4. Parents/guardian responsible for minor to wear helmet – The guardian of a person under the age of eighteen (18) years shall not knowingly allow, or fail to take reasonable steps to prevent, that person from operating or riding on a bicycle not powered by motor on a public roadway, bicycle path or on any right-of-way or publicly owned facilities located in King County, unless that person is wearing a helmet.

It takes a community to promote and raise awareness for crosswalk, pedestrian and bicycle safety. As a city, we will continue to teach crosswalk safety in schools and increase outreach efforts to promote safety. You can help reinforce the principles of pedestrian and bicycle safety at your workplace or an association in which you belong by making it a topic at your next meeting or in your newsletter. If you would like the city to provide you with pedestrian and bicycle safety tips, feel free to contact Leslie Harris at lharris@kenmorewa.gov. Your support is needed and appreciated.

Cliff Sether is the chief of the Kenmore Police Department. He may be reached at Clifford.Sether@kingcounty.gov.

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