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October is National Pedestrian Safety Month

Thanks to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), October is National Pedestrian Safety Month. Walk Safe Long Island is all about law-based education aimed at improving pedestrian and cyclist safety. This month, we strive to increase awareness around pedestrian safety and remind drivers to watch for pedestrians each and every time they are behind the wheel. Read on as we break down each weekly theme of Pedestrian Safety Month.

Everyone is a pedestrian.

At some point or another, everyone is a pedestrian. Walking has so many benefits, from improving your health to eco-friendly transportation. Whether you’re walking to your car, walking to school, or walking for exercise, everyone is entitled to walk safely. This is why motorists and pedestrians must look out for each other on the roads. Especially in high-traffic areas such as schools, residential neighborhoods, and streets near parks, motorists and pedestrians alike must “see and be seen.”

There are many laws in place to protect pedestrians on our roads in New York State. However, there is still work to be done to educate individuals about these laws, engineer the infrastructure necessary to support these laws, and enforce these laws. These “Three Es” (education, engineering, and enforcement) make up New York State’s three-pronged approach to making streets safer for pedestrians. Walk Safe Long Island is just one component of the “education” prong.

Safe Speeds

Speeding motorists pose a huge threat to pedestrians. Slower speeds can actually save lives. The chances of a pedestrian surviving a crash rapidly decrease when the vehicle speed is over 30mph. Speed limits are not suggestions—they are designed to be followed and keep all road users safe.

While many individuals are still working from home at least part time, there are less motorists out and about in the wake of COVID-19. However, open roads are tempting motorists to speed. Learn more about speeding on Long Island in our blog, Heed Your Speed, Long Island.

Safe Vehicles

Motor vehicle technology is rapidly evolving. Most cars have safety technologies such as air bags and seat belts designed to keep occupants safe. In addition to these tried and true safety measures, newer vehicles now have the technology to keep other vulnerable road users safe, like pedestrians. Features such as automatic emergency braking, backup cameras, and better headlights are just some of the new technologies keeping pedestrians and others outside the vehicle safe.

Unfortunately, not all vehicles on our roads have the latest safety technology, or even those classic features like air bags. New micromobility devices such as e-bikes and e-scooters are rapidly proliferating on our already crowded streets, posing a threat to themselves, motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists alike. Learn more about micromobility devices by reading this synopsis of the Walk Safe Long Island Town Hall, all about the future of these up and coming devices on our roads.

Safe Roads

The safety of everyone on the road depends on the safety of the road itself. Roadways should be designed to safely accommodate road users by providing a solid foundation for use of emerging vehicle technologies, and they should actively encourage safe behaviors among drivers and other road users.

However, not all roads are created equal, or without error. Long Island’s roads are currently undergoing an $11.3M makeover to improve their overall safety for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists alike. Learn more about the improvements coming to Long Island’s streets in our blog, Extreme Makeover: Roads Edition.

Additional Resources


About Walk Safe Long Island

Walk Safe Long Island (WSLI) is a pedestrian and cyclist safety campaign that aims to teach Long Islanders about walking and biking safely through law-based education. WSLI is produced for the New York Coalition for Transportation Safety by the Long Island Health Collaborative, funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with a grant from the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

New York State is taking numerous measures to tackle the issue of pedestrian and cyclist safety, all of which culminate in the New York State Pedestrian Safety Action Plan (PSAP). The plan emphasizes making streets safer by implementing the “Three Es—” engineering, enforcement, and education. Walk Safe Long Island is part of the third “E,” education.

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