Authorities urge walkers, riders to wear reflective gear this winter

The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is urging both walkers and riders to wear reflective gear as winter continues and days remain darker.

In 2012, there were an estimated 132 pedestrian fatalities in Georgia — that accounts for 11 percent of all traffic deaths. While that number is below the national average of 14 percent, it still accounts for far too many deaths, the majority of which are happening at night. In 2011, 70 percent of all nationwide pedestrian fatalities happened at night, with 32 percent happening between 8pm and midnight and 24 percent happening between midnight and 4am.

“Walking, jogging or riding your bike is a great way to get exercise as well as being a necessity for many people getting to and from work,” GOHS Director Harris Blackwood said in a statement. “But we want to make sure people are being safe as pedestrians and cyclists. This is the darkest time of year so it’s essential that you wear bright clothes and reflective gear to stay safe on our roads.”

While pedestrians can help keep themselves safe by always walking on sidewalks and crossing at crosswalks where available, cyclists can also stay safe by riding with the flow of traffic. In Georgia, cyclists also have the added benefit of a relatively new law requiring vehicles to pass cyclists with a minimum of three feet.

Both can be helped by wearing bright clothes and making sure reflectors are properly displayed on bicycles.

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