LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Zero Fatalities Crosswalk Fairy made its debut Tuesday morning at a pedestrian safety event to help drivers, walkers, parents, and kids remember the “rules of the road.”
As days shorten, and it stays darker longer, this is the most dangerous time of year for vulnerable road users, so law enforcement officers are taking to the streets to demonstrate crosswalk safety and remind drivers to stop for pedestrians.
8NewsNow Reporter Hector Mejia was at the crosswalk safety event on Boulder Highway, near Twain as LVMPD Traffic, CCSD Police, NLV Police, Henderson Police, and NHP were on the lookout for drivers who plow through crosswalks in the east valley.
Just days ago, a man and an infant were hit by a car while in this same crosswalk, the man was then hit again by a second car. They both suffered critical injuries.
Boulder Highway has a long reputation for being dangerous for those not in vehicles. This year, there have been four pedestrians killed, four critically injured, and one bicyclist killed.
By Nevada law, drivers are required to stop for pedestrians where two streets intersect, or there’s a marked location.
CCSD police officer Keith Habig dressed as a fairy and crossed Boulder Highway, near twain during the road safety event.
“I should most definitely catch their eye in something this bright,” Officer Keith Habig, CCSDPD said.
“If someone dressed in a bright yellow fairy costume, if people don’t stop for him, what chance does the average pedestrian have?” Erin Breen, Director, UNLV’S Road Equity Alliance Project said.
Jacqueline Suarez works nearby and sees the safety issues with pedestrians and drivers almost daily.
“It seems that like people are just daredevils and just throwing themselves in the middle of the street and nobody is stopping,” said Jacqueline Suarez, who works nearby.
She says she saw a close call this morning, even while police were out.
“This lady was just crossing the street and this semi, I mean it takes so long for them to stop, he almost hit her. He swerved,” added Suarez.
“I try to teach the kids a lot of times when you’re getting into a crosswalk. Make eye contact with the drivers. Make sure that they’re going to stop. Don’t just keep your head down and walk across and assume that everybody’s going to stop,” Officer Keith Habig, CCSDPD said.
Multiple jurisdictions participated, issuing 75 stops and 71 tickets to those who broke the law.
Important to note, since 2016, there’s been an ongoing project to make Boulder Highway safer to cross.
Road rules that apply to everyone:
- Don’t be an impaired road user, no matter how you travel. Judging how fast a vehicle is traveling toward you is difficult at night – and impossible impaired. Be a safe driver and pedestrian.
- Slow down! Plan for the true time needed to get to your destination so you’re not tempted to run yellow lights, roll through a stop sign, or dart in and out of lanes to try to get ahead.
- Be kind to others. Picture the face of someone you care about on every person you encounter on the street.
- Drivers should always buckle up and ensure their vehicle isn’t in gear until everyone else is safely restrained. Any child in the car less than 57” tall should be in a proper child seat. It will be the law on January 1, 2022.
For parents, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists:
- Make sure drivers can see you from dusk to dawn. Wear bright and white clothing during the day and wear reflective wear or reflective add-ons at night!
- A driver traveling 40 mph needs more than 150 feet for their headlights to see you, react and stop. Reflectors can save a pedestrian’s life.
- Whenever possible, walk facing traffic as a pedestrian, so you can see what is coming your way.
- Bicyclists are required to have an operational headlight on the front of their bike from dusk to dawn, and red rear reflectors!
- Wearing a bike helmet can increase a bicyclist’s survival rate. Those helmeted in a bike crash survive 50% to 85% more than those not helmeted.
- When the wheels of a bike are in the street, you are considered a vehicle and must travel with traffic, not against traffic.
- Nevada law requires drivers, when possible, to merge into the center lane if provided, as they approach a cyclist in the right-hand lane. The law also requires cyclists to remain in the right land, except for left turns, when they are allowed to merge over the final 200 feet before their intersection.
- If there is no additional lane to merge into, or if traffic is too heavy to do so safely, the driver must pull as far left as possible in the right lane, allowing the cyclist a minimum of three feet.
- Drivers should watch for signage across the valley that allows the cyclist to “take the lane” even on two-way streets.
- Cyclists should wear reflective gear after the sun goes down
- Parents should plan their child’s route to school or other locations with their kids to stress the importance of crossing points, to stop and wait for the car to stop before they step out, and to only cross after they have made eye contact with the driver and are sure they have been seen
For Halloween specifically:
- Excited children can be unpredictable. On this night, stay sober and aware of the street around you, including from the front of your car downward, where kids can be.
- Go under the posted speed wherever you travel and stay vigilant, ready to hit the brakes if necessary.
- Parents require should their children to be in the house by 8 p.m. and older children out no later than 9 p.m. in neighborhoods.
- Remember it is the driver’s responsibility to scan side to side to look for people waiting to cross the street.
By Nevada law, wherever two streets intersect or a marked mid-block location, the driver must yield to pedestrians while they are in any of the lanes in the directions the driver is traveling, which really means you have to stop for them.
It is illegal to pass another vehicle that is stopped at an intersection or marked mid-block location until you can determine why that vehicle stopped.
Officers say the goal for high-visibility enforcement is not the citations given, but the people who see and read about the enforcement and understand what their responsibilities are.