• Crosswalk crashes remind us of need for awareness

    Published November 20 2019

    City continues to emphasize safety through Vision Zero 

    Two incidents this week in which vehicles struck pedestrians in city crosswalks, leaving both with life-threatening injuries, are more unwanted reminders of the need for awareness when traveling on city streets. 

    It’s important to remember that safety on the roadways is everyone’s responsibility. 

    • Drive and walk cautiously and always obey traffic signals and signs; 
    • Avoid distracted driving, stay off your phone and avoid eating or grooming in the car;
    • Never assume you will be seen; make eye contact when crossing a street or entering an intersection, whether there’s a crosswalk there or not; 
    • Drive for the conditions; slow down at night or in poor weather; and
    • Consider wearing bright or reflective clothing at night to increase visibility, whether walking or bicycling. 

    On Sunday, just after 7 p.m., a driver heading north on 145th Place Southeast ran into a man in a crosswalk near Southeast 18th Street. That pedestrian, 67, remains in extremely critical condition.  

    At approximately 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday, a driver collided with a woman, 85, in the crosswalk at Bellevue Way and Northeast 24th Street. She’s in critical condition. 

    “These are terrible situations, and our thoughts are with the families of the victims,” said Transportation Director Andrew Singelakis. “It’s obviously troubling that both were struck while in crosswalks. We want the public to know that the City of Bellevue is committed to implementing Vision Zero and eliminating traffic-related injuries and deaths.”

    Through its Vision Zero program, an effort to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries on Bellevue streets by 2030, city departments are collaborating to make roadways safer.

    Education and enforcement are key components in making the transportation system safer. Among the educational efforts the city is involved in are an “Eyes on the Road” campaign to raise awareness about distracted driving, and an “Alive at 25” course to teach young drivers to be aware of hazards on the road.

    “This isn’t just an enforcement issue; anyone using the roads or sidewalks needs to pay attention to their surroundings,” said Police Chief Steve Mylett. “This is especially important given our rainy winter weather and the shorter days. Please travel safely.”

    Enforcement efforts include automated speed enforcement cameras in school zones and the Police Department’s online Traffic Service Request system, enabling the public to easily report speeding and problematic traffic areas.