The Slow Down In Town campaign in Darien seeks to promote greater awareness for the safety of pedestrians and cyclists by encouraging everyone who uses a vehicle to drive slower, pay more attention when they’re driving, and respect all those in our community who walk, run, and cycle. Together, we can make our roads safer by being more patient while we’re driving, use our horns less, and look out for each other so we can reduce pedestrian and cycling accidents in our town.
Motorist: Slow down; It’s Best For Everyone
We’ve all heard the commercial about the vehicle versus Bull the Train collision and the damage the 300-ton train can inflict on a one-ton car. So why are so many people so careless when they drive their vehicles on the same narrow roads that are being used by cyclists and pedestrians?
A car moving as slow as 10 miles per hour can severely injure a cyclist or pedestrian. That fact alone should make everyone who drives a vehicle be more cautious when they approach a person on foot or a person on a bike. Even the slightest contact could send a pedestrian or cyclist to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.
The responsibility goes both ways. In today’s world of electronic devices, pedestrians or cyclists that are listening to or viewing mobile devices can be distracted just as much as drivers doing the same. A walker who can’t hear an approaching vehicle because they’re wearing headphones or earbuds are just as responsible for their safety as the approaching driver.
Darien’s quaint downtown area offers unique challenges for anyone who uses the Post Road. Drivers use it as a cut through when traffic on Interstate 95 slows to a crawl; ongoing redevelopment projects add large construction vehicles to the mix that can impede traffic and test the patience of daily commuters; there are inexperienced high school-age drivers who are learning to maneuver in traffic in preparation for getting a license; and let’s not forget about the numerous pedestrians who risk their own safety by crossing the roadway without using a crosswalk.
The situation requires all users (drivers, pedestrians and cyclists) to be more aware of their surroundings and use caution.
News & Events
The town’s second traffic awareness campaign got underway in June and its focus was again on getting motorists to reduce their speed…
Darien Police Commissioner Brent Hayes, First Selectman Monica McNally, Selectman Sarah Neumann, members…
Pedestrians: You need to walk with your guard up
Pedestrians need to use sidewalks if they are available; walk in single file into oncoming traffic if no sidewalk exists; follow traffic signals at intersections; try to make eye contact with motorists and cyclists if attempting to cross a roadway; and take advantage of intersections where crossing guards are stationed during school hours.
Pedestrians who use electronic devices when they walk are leaving themselves vulnerable to dangerous situations because their attention is distracted.
Cyclists: You’re required to observe same rules as motorists
By law, cyclists have the same rights as motorists and are responsible for knowing the rules of the road. In downtown areas, cyclists aren’t allowed on sidewalks and are expected to stop at traffic signals just as motorists do.
The roads in the more rural areas of Darien require cyclists and motorists to coexist, despite their huge difference in size. Cyclists need to be vigilant when using the road because no matter how careful a driver may be, there are many factors that can contribute to a life-altering situation.
In cold conditions, roadways can be slick from moisture and ice, which limits the usable portion of a road. Sudden maneuvers to avoid wet or icy spots in the road can put cyclists in the crosshairs of an approaching vehicle, even if the motorist is giving the cyclist as much room as possible. In warmer weather, roadways become overgrown with vegetation, one again limiting the amount of usable roadway.
It calls for great caution — for both cyclists and motorists.
If a pedestrian is in a crosswalk, the pedestrian has the right of way and it’s the responsibility of the motorist to stop and allow the pedestrian to cross.
As a driver, we’ve all been guilty of not noticing a pedestrian who is waiting to cross a street. By slowing down and paying more attention to our surroundings, all drivers in our community can make it easier and safer for pedestrians to safely cross roadways and get to their destinations.
Once a pedestrian is in a crosswalk it doesn’t mean they should let down their guard. Statistics show that thousands of pedestrians are struck each year when using crosswalks so it’s important to look both ways for approaching vehicles before you step on the street — especially at night.
If a pedestrian is using a crosswalk at night, it can be helpful to use a flashlight to alert approaching cars to your presence, or wear a reflective vest or bright clothing that can be easily noticed. Here’s another obvious tip: avoid looking at your electronic devices or wearing headphones and earbuds when you’re in a crosswalk.