Police want you to walk smarter, and walk brighter

Busy traffic and increasing hours of darkness make October a historically dangerous month to be a pedestrian in Delaware.

Police and safety advocates said it doesn't have to be that way.

The Delaware Office of Highway Safety, along with State Police and first responders, gathered at Troop 6 near Prices Corner Thursday for the start of a pedestrian safety initiative, in conjunction with Pedestrian Safety Month.

On heavily-used Kirkwood Highway nearby, as well as Route 13 and Route 40, crosswalks are spaced relatively far apart, and traffic moves at a brisk pace. That can be a tragic combination, especially if a pedestrian is intoxicated or is not wearing bright-colored or reflective clothing.

"Typically, 35 miles an hour is speed which turns a pedestrian injury into a fatality," OHS Management Analyst Richard Klepner said. 

However, you also need to proceed on foot with caution in cities, towns and neighborhoods. Dr. Sherry Sixta of Christiana Hospital said lower-speed collisions, as well as impact caused by motorcyclists or bicyclists, can also lead to serious or fatal injuries. 

"Certainly you can get any kind of injury from that as well, head injuries, extremity fractures, etc.," Sixta added.

According to the Office of Highway Safety, Delaware is in the top five nationally per capita in terms of traffic fatalities. 34 people died in pedestrian accidents in 2017 statewide. 

"Although pedestrian fatalities are on a slight decline in Delaware, even one is too many," Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security Robert Coupe said.

As part of the initiative, Delaware Transit Corporation street team members will interact with DART bus passengers and offer advice about safe walking habits. 

Reporter - Anchor

Mark Fowser is a veteran journalist in Delaware.