Pedestrian Safety Tips
Springfieldians need to watch out for each other and travel responsibly. Pedestrians can do their part, too!
Follow these tips to stay safe on Springfield streets:
- The safest place to cross is at an intersection or available crosswalk. Always obey traffic signals.
- As of November 2020, Springfield has a new law: Drivers hare required to yield to you not only when you are already in the crosswalk, but when you are waiting near the edge of the crosswalk as well. Stand on the sidewalk within three feet of the crosswalk and make eye contact with drivers. Motorists should yield to you. Cross one lane at a time!
- If there is a traffic signal or beacon with a push button, use it!
- Eyes up, phone down!
- Keep scanning for traffic as you cross, especially for turning vehicles.
- If a driver waves you forward, check for other approaching vehicles. Walk, never run, across the street.
- At night, wear bright colored or reflective clothing.
- Make eye contact with all drivers to clearly demonstrate your intent to cross. Then only cross only when vehicles stop in each lane.
- Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is none, walk on the shoulder facing traffic.
Are MORE crosswalks better?It depends. There is no easy answer and each potential site must be carefully studied so the benefits don't outweigh potential risks.
Here are some of the potential risks that ought to be considered:
• Studies have shown that pedestrians tend to have a "false sense of security" when using marked crosswalks and cross less carefully than they would at an unmarked location. This is especially true for children. Neighborhoods generally do not have crosswalks - unless a school or park is nearby.
• Many motorists tend to oversee or ignore marked mid-block crosswalks. In-between intersections, driven speeds are higher and motorists do not expect pedestrians to cross on a regular basis. Marked crosswalks with little pedestrian activity are especially concerning.
• Effectiveness is also a factor. If too many locations have crosswalks, drivers are less likely to notice them.
• Crosswalks should not be installed mid-block on streets with high speeds and/or multiple lanes - unless absolutely necessary and other pedestrian safety features are employed.
To outweigh the possible risks, Public Works staff follows best practices and utilizes engineering judgment. To evaluate a potential crosswalk location, the following factors are considered:
• Is it a low-speed street? (Less than 40 mph)
• Is there enough pedestrian traffic? (25 pedestrians cross per hour - schools are an exception)
• How much traffic is on the road? (A crosswalk is safest on streets with more than 3,000 but less than 12,000 vehicles per day)
• Is there sufficient sight distance? (The stopping sight distance ought to equal 8 times the speed limit)
• How far away is the nearest crosswalk or intersection? (A minimum of 300 feet ought to be between crossings)
• What are the nearby pedestrian generators? (Schools, park, grocery store, etc.)
These considerations will help decide if a crosswalks is to be marked, if additional safety features are needed or if it is best to not mark the crosswalk at all.