News Release Archive

Defensive driving is a familiar term to most Nova Scotians. But
since most people cross a street or road at least once a day,
defensive walking should be a priority as well, advises the
Department of Business and Consumer Services.

"A sharp increase in runners and walkers is a sure sign that
spring has hit Nova Scotia," said Sandy Jolly, business and
consumer services minister. "It seems that everyone is anxious to
shake the winter blues with exercise and fresh air. But sometimes
people are so anxious, they ignore the basic safety rules."

In urban areas, crosswalks, crossing signals and crossing guards
are a few mechanisms in place for pedestrian safety. In rural
areas, paved or grassy shoulders on the roadways, coupled with
lower speed limits, provide a safe walkway.

"But none of these things takes the place of common sense," said
Ms. Jolly. "Everyone, both drivers and walkers, should share
responsibility for traffic safety."

The department offers these tips for safe walking:

- Don't assume that the driver has seen you. When crossing a
  street or roadway, make eye contact with the driver of
  approaching vehicles to ensure he or she has seen you before
  taking the first step.

- Walk facing traffic. When walking in areas with no sidewalks,
  always walk on the left side so you can keep an eye oncoming

- Pause before entering a crosswalk. If you arrive at a crosswalk
  at the same time as a stream of traffic, do not expect the
  first car to stop. The cars are moving faster than you and will
  take longer to stop.

- Obey crossing guards and crossing signals. They are in place to
  safeguard both walkers and drivers.

- Be seen. As a walker, it is your responsibility to ensure you
  are seen by drivers. Do not dart into a busy street from
  between two parked cars or from behind a high hedge. Give the
  drivers time to see you. When walking at night, wear bright or
  reflective clothing.

- Stay alert. Drivers entering an intersection from a stop sign
  often only look for oncoming cars and fail to notice
  pedestrians approaching from either side. Drivers turning left
  on a green light also sometimes tend to overlook pedestrians
  while taking advantage of a break in traffic.

- Be courteous. Although pedestrians have the right-of-way in
  many situations, do not take advantage of it. Like you, drivers
  are on their way somewhere -- so when they stop to let you
  cross the road or street, wave or smile in appreciation. At the
  very least, walk quickly so they can get back on their way.

- Set a good example. Children often mimic the adults in their
  life. Teach your children traffic safety rules, but more
  importantly, let them see you following the rules.


Contact: Louise MacDonald
         Business and Consumer Services

trp                   May 9, 1997 - 9:40 a.m.