A city’s crime rate often is looked at as a measure of how safe the city is. As reported by The Gazette on April 16, Janesville’s crime rate has continued to trend downward for several years, which is always good news.

A lesser-talked-about aspect of safety within our community is a person's ability to cross the street without fear of being struck by a motor vehicle. This can be even more concerning for our blind residents.

With the return of warmer weather, it is a good time to review some driver safety tips and rules of the road with respect to pedestrian right of way:

  • First and foremost, pay attention to your surroundings and avoid texting while driving.
  • Yield the right of way to pedestrians who have started crossing at an intersection or crosswalk regardless of whether there are signals or a marked crosswalk.
  • Do not pass any vehicle that stops at an intersection or crosswalk to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway.

Drivers also should be extra attentive to blind pedestrians who carry a cane or walking stick, which is white or white trimmed with red, or who are using a service animal. By law, drivers must yield the right of way to blind pedestrians by stopping at least 10 feet away from them regardless of whether they might be violating any laws applicable to pedestrians.

By working together, we can continue to make Janesville a safe and pedestrian-friendly city to live in and visit.

TERRY SHERIDAN

Janesville deputy police chief

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