2017-09-29 / Front Page

Pedestrians obligated to follow traffic rules

BY LAURA LEVERING
Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office

Summer days are behind and fall is here, bringing gradual changes including less daylight.

Clocks won’t get turned back until Nov. 5, but the sun has already begun setting earlier with each passing day. And as it continues, the community needs to take on a greater sense of awareness of their surroundings.

George Conrad, Fort Gordon and Cyber Center of Excellence safety specialist, wants to remind people of a few rules some seem to have forgotten regarding pedestrians and vehicles, especially as the new season poses new safety concerns.

Conrad frequently witnesses pedestrians running or walking with headphones in, which is one of the violations.

U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon Regulation 210- 3, which outlines Vehicle and Pedestrian Traffic Rules, prohibits pedestrians from wearing any device that obstructs a person’s hearing while running or walking on the roadway. An earphone for a cell phone hands-free device may be worn in one ear only. The only place a pedestrian may wear headphones is Barton Field or other designated off-road tracks.

The regulation states that no running or marching is allowed on Avenue of the States, 19th Street from Chamberlain Avenue to Gordon Highway, Rice Road, 15th Street, and Chamberlain Avenue.

“The message we’re trying to get out to people is that there are certain roads you don’t run on and you can’t pay attention when wearing these devices,” Conrad said.

According to policy, pedestrians must use sidewalks and crosswalks when available. When neither is available, pedestrians must travel on the left side of the roadway facing traffic.

Earlier this month, a pedestrian ended up in the hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries likely because he failed to obey post rules. Early reports said the man was wearing headphones while looking down at an electronic device. He also reportedly stepped outside of the crosswalk.

“Pedestrians need to be very cautious and make sure traffic sees you, especially now as the days are getting shorter,” Conrad continued.

The man was said to be fine and recovering, but it could have been worse.

As for the belief some have that pedestrians always have the right of way, it is simply not always the case.

Legally, pedestrians have the right of way at controlled intersections and crosswalks, but they also have an obligation to make sure it is safe before crossing.

“Pedestrians have a responsibility to make sure that it is clear,” Conrad said. “If you see a car approaching, you have to use good judgment.”

The last thing Conrad wants to emphasize is the importance of proper attire. Policy states reflective arm and leg bands, vests or belts are required during hours of limited visibility such as before sunrise, after sunset, and during foggy or rainy conditions. Light colored clothing is also highly recommended.

“There is a reason why we have these policies,” Conrad said. “It is so people do not get hurt.”

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