Biking and walking safety tips in the Valley

Walking and biking tips in the Valley

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The recent death of a local bicyclist involved in a hit and run, and an early Tuesday morning pedestrian accident comes as sobering reminders of the dangers out on the road.

Police say a 19-year-old man who was hit off JR Allen Parkway Tuesday suffered non-life threatening injuries, but the tragic passing of a Phenix City bicyclist last weekend shows how deadly bike and pedestrian involved accidents can be. 
There's an unofficial sidewalk of trampled grass on Linwood Boulevard, made by pedestrians like Tobin King. 
"We just cut through the little trail right there because there's no sidewalks along this curve right here," King said. 
King crosses Linwood regularly, going from a bus stop, headed to Midtown Medical Center. Many others we spoke with do the same thing.
However, some say making their appointments on time is what's really on their minds, not safety.
"We have distracted drivers, as well as distracted walkers and that is not a good combination," Pamela Fair said, director of the Columbus organization Safe Kids. 
The main thing public health officials and police stress is the importance of using crosswalks, since they are where experts say drivers tend to look out for pedestrians. They also encourage people to use reflectors or wear bright colored jackets when 

biking or walking.

Columbus health experts say a helmet is required by law if you're 16 or younger, but encouraged them for all, as traumatic head injuries have been on the rise in our area. Officials say it all boils down to safe habits, and staying focused.
"As a pedestrian, if you're crossing and you see the vehicle, you know, keeping eye contact, building that eye contact bond, as you're beginning to cross in front of a car is always key because then you know, I see you, and you see me," said Fair.

Columbus health experts are kicking off the summer with a free child helmet giveaway on June 6 as a part of their bike rodeo. That event will be held from 10-11:30 a.m. at the Columbus Public Library. 

There is scheduled to be helmet fittings, bike inspections, and an obstacle course. You can contact Safe Kids Columbus at 706-321-6183 for more information.

Officers say pedestrians can get ticketed for crossing the road at an un-designated crossing area. If you're riding a bike, you have to follow traffic laws, just like in a car or you could also get a ticket. That also includes stopping at all lights and signs. 

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