Local law officials give road safety tips

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Tim Jantz

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File Photo

Walt Vanatta

The law states that pedestrians are supposed to walk against traffic and bicyclists are supposed to ride with traffic, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

But does this happen?

Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta said that he’ll often see kids that are walking on the wrong side of the road or are riding their bikes through stop signs, paying no attention to the law and ultimately putting themselves and others in danger.

“If there is a sidewalk, use it. Always walk against traffic so that you can see the vehicle coming towards you and use an abundance of precaution,” Vanatta said.

Because of all the potential dangers pedestrians face from drivers while walking, Colorado passed a law prohibiting texting and driving in 2009 after 9-year-old Erica Forney was hit by a car and killed by a woman who was distracted by her cellphone, according to an article in The Denver Post.

Every bicyclist, by law, is required to obey the same road laws as a driver. This is particularly a problem with younger bicyclists, Vanatta said.

He and other officers try to enforce such laws, particularly when the bicyclist causes or almost causes an accident, which usually results in a ticket and a conversation about safety laws on the road.

With so few sidewalks in Craig, many of which are cracked and eroded, kids and other adults often are forced to walk in the road, therefore increasing the chances of an accident, Vanatta said.

“This is particularly worse during the wintertime because the snow plows end up pushing snow onto the sidewalks, making them unusable,” Vanatta said.

Although pedestrians generally have the right away, law enforcement still expects them to follow the rules of the road. Technically, a pedestrian is supposed to wait until an icon appears on the other side of a crosswalk before crossing the street, but if a driver is approaching that intersection and there is a green light but the pedestrian is using the crosswalk anyway, the pedestrian still will have the right away.

The only time a pedestrian does not have the right away is if they are trying to cross the street where there is not a crosswalk, Vanatta said.

“Always make the assumption that other drivers cannot see you before making a turn or pulling out into the road and act accordingly. Take that extra moment to make sure the way is safe and clear or it could result in a serious injury or death,” said Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz.

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