Editor’s Column: Pedestrians have rights, too

Most days I walk to and from the office. Traffic is usually a moot point, but Tuesday there was traffic. I started to cross the street at a stop sign only to have oncoming traffic pull halfway through the intersection before I’d made it across. Either they were bleeding to death and in a terrible hurry (except they were going the wrong way) or they don’t know anything about Colorado’s pedestrian right-of-way laws. That’s my guess, because I didn’t know (or care) very much about those laws until I became a frequent pedestrian myself.
So, for the sake of education and safety, here’s a quick summary of Colorado’s pedestrian right-of-way laws, directly from the Colorado Driver Handbook.
First, let’s define pedestrian: “Pedestrians are those people standing, walking or using a wheelchair on public streets, highways and private property.”
Second, we have instructions for pedestrians: “As a pedestrian, you should avoid walking on the traveled portion of a road. When there is no sidewalk, you should walk on the outside of a curb or painted edge strip, if either exists. When walking along a road, you should walk on the side facing traffic. When vision is poor, such as at night, make yourself more visible by wearing light-colored clothing, a white cloth tied around your arm, or some reflective material.”
Now here’s the important part: “You have the right-of-way at crosswalks and intersections whether the crosswalks are marked or not.”
In the state of Colorado, pedestrians have the undisputed right-of-way at every crosswalk or intersection, and vehicles are required to yield to them until they have crossed the street… not pull up next to them in an overgrown truck and rev the engine to hurry them up. Just saying.

Many thanks to those who chose Pat and myself as the Meeker Chamber’s Citizens of the Month for July. Seriously, you have no idea how much that means to us. We’re working hard to provide the local coverage our readers want. Have suggestions? Let us know, we’re open to ideas.

There was yet another accident on Hwy. 13 between Meeker and Rifle this week. Something needs to be done, but I’m not sure where that responsibility lies other than with the individuals who drive that stretch of road. It seems wrong to me that the Colorado Department of Transportation has dumped millions of dollars on that road to make it more safe in the last 10 years, and the number of traumatic accidents has increased, not decreased. What else can be done?

After printing the Declaration of Independence on our front page last week, I found out National Public Radio reads it on air every year. This year they also tweeted it.
Unfortunately, a number of people didn’t recognize the 140-character snippets as coming from the Declaration and thought NPR was trying to incite a revolution or attacking the current presidential administration. I’m awfully glad our readers are smarter than that.