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Ask A Cop: How can pedestrians stay safe?

(A Lake Oswego police officer answers readers’ questions each week in this space. To submit a question, call staff reporter Cliff Newell at 503-636-1281 ext. 105 or send an email to cnewell@lakeoswegoreview.com.)

What can a pedestrian do to make themselves more noticeable while crossing the street?

TREATThe best and safest option is to cross busy roadways at designated crosswalks or intersections with traffic lights. Wearing bright-colored or reflective vests or clothing is a good idea, too.

If one must cross where there are no crosswalks or intersections, do so in open areas where vehicles will have ample time to observe you in the roadway. Refrain from crossing at blind curves, high-speed areas, on the downgrade of hills or where traffic is merging.

When waiting to cross at a crosswalk or at an intersection, do not stand still. You will become part of the background, and drivers will not notice you.

Moving your arms to signal to drivers that you’re trying to cross the roadway will help you stand out against the landscape. It is also a good idea to walk with a flashlight, even in the daylight. The extra light might be what catches the driver’s attention and keeps you safe.

It’s important to note that when a pedestrian tries to cross the roadway in a place other than a designated crosswalk, vehicles have the right of way. According to ORS 814.040 (Failure to Yield to Vehicle), a pedestrian commits the offense of pedestrian failure to yield to a vehicle if the pedestrian does any of the following:

• Suddenly leaves a curb or other place of safety and moves into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.

• Fails to yield the right of way to a vehicle upon a roadway when the pedestrian is crossing the roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.

• Except as otherwise provided under the vehicle code, fails to yield the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

The bottom line is that vehicles and pedestrians share the road. You can be right and still be injured, so please be defensive and proactive with your personal safety.

If you have a specific request or see a violation occur, the Lake Oswego Police Department encourages all citizens to contact the non-emergency line at 503-635-0238 and an officer will be dispatched as soon as available.

— Lt. Doug Treat

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