We often see news accounts of joggers/walkers who were struck and injured by moving vehicles. Jogging and walking is supposed to be a healthy activity, but it can be much more hazardous than a pulled muscle or sore feet. Anytime you mix pedestrians and vehicles together, there is an inherent risk.
In 2008, 39 persons were injured involving pedestrian/vehicle accidents in Teaneck and luckily, no fatalities were reported. In 2007, 42 pedestrians were injured with one fatality. In these incidents, the majority occurred at intersections. In 2005, a jogger was struck and killed by a hit and run driver while running on Queen Anne Rd. in the early morning hours. An intense investigation was conducted and the driver was later identified and charged with a crime.
The New Jersey laws on pedestrian activity are very simple but sometimes difficult to adhere to. It states that where sidewalks are provided, it shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon an adjacent roadway.
In Teaneck we have a unique situation. On some streets, there are no sidewalks which forces pedestrians and vehicles to “share” the roadway. In this case, the responsibility falls equally to both. The pedestrian “shall when practicable, walk only on the extreme left side of the roadway or its shoulder facing approaching traffic,” (NJS: 39-4-34). On the other side, the vehicle operator has a responsibility to use caution when a pedestrian is on the roadway. “Nothing contained herein, shall relieve a driver from the duty to exercise due care for the safety of any pedestrian upon a roadway,” (NJS: 39-4-36).
Of course, the safety of all residents is our main concern and educating everyone about pedestrian safety is at the top of the list. Here are some tips:
“¢ Run/walk on the sidewalk and out of the roadway, if at all possible.
“¢ Be alert for obstacles and problems where you run/walk such as unleashed dogs, icy areas, low branches and pot holes.
“¢ Have a planned route. Let someone know when you leave, the route you will take and the time you plan on returning.
“¢ Carry identification with you and a cell phone, if practical. Several companies offer identification badges that attach to shoes and clothing which are unobtrusive and quickly recognized by any emergency service person.
“¢ Wear reflective clothing, even when it is bright and sunny. The more visible you are to vehicles the better.
“¢ Run/walk with a friend. The buddy system is always enjoyable and a safe idea.
“¢ Stay alert and pay attention to your surroundings. Earphones are nice to keep you motivated, but they can also eliminate sounds of approaching danger. How about turning the volume down a bit so you can still hear what is around you.
“¢ Trust your feelings and intuitions when it comes to various situations you may encounter. Do not just dismiss them.
“¢ Drivers: be observant, be patient and yield to all persons in crosswalks.
The Teaneck Police Department, under the command of Chief Robert A. Wilson,
is committed to working together with our fellow residents, to keep our neighborhoods safe and secure. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact the Teaneck Police Department Community Policing Bureau at 201-837-8759 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lieutenant Michael Falvey
Teaneck Police Department