With the new school year underway, many Chattanooga streets are becoming more congested with cars, bicycles and pedestrians. The Chattanooga Police Department is reminding drivers, bikers and walkers to exercise caution, especially during student drop-off and pick-up times.
Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians should abide traffic laws and follow safety guidelines year-round but especially during the school year when pedestrian traffic increases, the CPD says.
To date in 2018, CPD traffic officers have responded to more pedestrian fatalities than during the same time period in 2017. Pedestrian related collisions can be minimized by using sidewalks, crossing at crosswalks, and waiting for the “Walk” signal.
The CPD is offering the following safety tips for pedestrians and bikers:
-- Always use the crosswalk, preferably at an intersection controlled by a traffic signal or stop sign.
-- Remove or turn down the volume on earbuds and don’t text while walking.
-- Wait for the “Walk” signal or green light for pedestrians, which means do not enter the crosswalk on the solid red hand signal.
-- Look both ways before crossing.
-- Always try to get a visual commitment from the driver before crossing, even when you have the right of way.
-- There are many miles of dedicated bike lanes in Chattanooga. Use them.
-- Wear a bike helmet while cycling.
-- Be aware of sun glare or other weather conditions that might degrade a driver’s vision.
-- Parents should plan their child’s route if he or she walks or cycles to school. Identify the best places to cross roadways.
-- Wear bright or reflective clothing when biking or walking to make yourself more visible to drivers.
Tips for drivers:
-- Follow the speed limit. Schools have reduced speed zones in their vicinity.
-- Stop for school buses. When the red lights are flashing, that means stop.
-- Stay off the phone. A law enacted in January 2018 makes it a misdemeanor to use hand-held mobile phones in active school zones. The active times for school zones varies from 7-8:45 a.m. and 2:15-4 p.m.
-- Watch for school patrol officers and obey their signs.
-- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and do not block a crosswalk. A pedestrian in the crosswalk has the right of way.
-- Don’t double park to let children out of a car. Double parking blocks visibility for other children and vehicles.