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Public Health - Seattle & King County

Pedestrian safety

Walking is a great way to commute and a great source of physical activity. Public Health – Seattle & King County encourages healthy, active living and promotes safe, pedestrian-friendly communities. Within traffic safety, pedestrians are an important group to protect.

From From 2008 to 2012, 90 pedestrians were killed and an additional 582 pedestrians were seriously injured in King County. Pedestrian fatalities accounted for 21% of all traffic fatalities in the county.
...Washington Traffic Safety Commission, July 2013

Drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians all share a role in pedestrian safety. The following tips can help improve safety for everyone:

Tips for pedestrians:

  • Look left, right, and left again before crossing the street. Look before you cross even when guided with pedestrian crossing signals.
  • Teach children how to safely cross the street.
  • Make eye contact with drivers and cyclists before crossing. Check all lanes of traffic. Do not assume they will stop.
  • Cross in well-lit and visible areas to drivers. Stand clear of buses, hedges, parked cars or other obstacles before crossing.
  • Cross streets at marked crosswalks or intersections when possible.
  • Always walk on the sidewalk or paths. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.
  • Obey traffic signals such as WALK/DON'T WALK signs.
  • Free yourself of distractions. Avoid listening to head phones or using a cell phone while crossing the street.
  • Make yourself visible to drivers. Wear bright or light colored clothing and reflective materials. Carry a flashlight when walking at night.

Tips for drivers and bicyclists:

  • Be alert! Watch for pedestrians at all times. Scan the road and sidewalks ahead for potential pedestrians.
  • Before making a turn, look in all directions for pedestrians crossing.
  • Free yourself of distractions. Do not drive or bicycle while using a cell phone or participating in other distractions.
  • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, both marked and at unmarked intersections.
  • Do not block or park in crosswalks.
  • Obey traffic laws and avoid aggressive maneuvers. Speeding increases the risk of death and serious injury to pedestrians in the event of a collision.

Toddler and child pedestrian safety considerations are especially important at home and near areas where children are present. Safe Kids USA has developed a "Spot the Tot" program to prevent driving backovers of children.

Pedestrian safety resources

Pedestrian sign

Access walking maps in King County

Good to Know - Pedestrian Safety
Washington State Patrol