Pedestrians often lacking caution

Many not taking safety seriously, engineers warn

Medians and guardrails divide Gordon Highway to keep people from trying to cross where they shouldn't.

 

Still, pedestrians run across the busy, multilane highway and hop the rails instead of using the crosswalks at intersections.

"They are nowhere near as cautious as they need to be," said Dennis Ellis, a traffic engineering technician. "They cross wherever they want to."

In 2010, 98 pedestrians were hit by cars, according to Richmond County traffic engineers. Four of those pedestrians died.

So far this year, 20 people have been hit, two teens were killed, and a child is in critical condition.

Engineers are concerned pedestrians aren't taking their own safety seriously.

"They believe that everyone is going to slam on the brakes for them and that they're completely covered in a force field that will protect them," said Ellis. "You see it all the time."

The top three locations in 2009 and 2010 for pedestrian-related accidents, according to traffic engineering records, were Wrightsboro Road, Deans Bridge Road and Mike Padgett Highway.

Even where crosswalks are available, pedestrians often don't bother with them, according to Richmond County sheriff's Capt. Scott Gay.

To determine whether an area needs more crosswalks or signs to aid in a high-pedestrian area, engineers start by conducting a pedestrian count. During the process, an engineer counts the pedestrians and locations where they cross.

About 10 years ago, a pedestrian study was conducted in the Laney-Walker Boulevard area from R.A. Dent to 15th Street.

"They were crossing every which way," Ellis said. "One of the things we saw that could better help them is selective points."

The Medical College of Georgia helped engineers create selective areas for crossing by placing fencing and vegetation to guide pedestrians toward a safer crossing area.

An upcoming project, funded by the state, will redesign another portion of 15th Street, from the Wrightsboro Road overpass to Walton Way, to make it more pedestrian-friendly.

Ellis said the state began pushing the project because of the number of pedestrians in the area.

Also contributing to the number of pedestrian strikes in Richmond County are children and intoxicated people who wander into traffic.

On Easter, a 2-year-old boy was struck by a vehicle after breaking away from his grandmother and running into traffic on Belair Road.

The toddler remained in critical condition Tuesday.

Ellis encouraged parents to discuss the dangers of the road with their children at an early age.

In October, Donovan Brown Jr., 9, was killed in a hit-and-run while walking home with two teens on the edge of Travis Road about 9 p.m. Authorities are still searching for the driver of the red pickup or SUV that hit him.

On the day after the accident, Ellis observed more following a similar pattern.

"It was an hour after dark, right there in the marking where the wreck took place, there were about 10 young men his age walking down the middle of the road," he said. "All were wearing dark clothing."

He observed a similar situation only months before, in June, when a 2-year-old was killed after running into the street to chase a ball on Boykin Road.

In the week after, children could still be found unsupervised biking and playing ball in the same location after dark.

"People need to take responsibility for what they're doing and teach their kids what to do," Ellis said. "There's only so much you can do to protect people."

Pedestrians hit

2011: 20 incidents as of March 31

- 1 did not result in injuries

- 2 resulted in death

2010: 98 incidents

- 12 did not result in injuries

- 4 resulted in death

Top locations:

- Wrightsboro Road: 10

- Deans Bridge Road: 7

- Walton Way and Mike Padgett Highway: 6

2009: 97 incidents

- 6 did not result in injuries

- 5 resulted in death

Top locations:

- Wrightsboro and Deans Bridge roads: 7

- Gordon Highway: 5

- Mike Padgett Highway: 4

2011 pedestrian strikes

Basswood - 1
Deans Bridge - 1
Tuttle Street - 1
Milledge - 1
Jimmy Dyess - 1
Peach Orchard - 2
Washington Road - 1
Wrightsboro Road - 2
Gordon Hwy - 2
15th Street - 1
Highland Ave - 1
Laney Walker - 2
Walton Way - 1
MLK - 1
Mccombs - 1 (2 fatal - Michael Perry, Sarah Riffe)
McBean Place - 1

Accident with injuries 19; Noninjuries 1; death 2
Accident total as of March 31: 20

 

2010 pedestrian strikes


Franklin Lane - 1
Calhoun - 1
Wrightsboro - 10
Washington - 3
Peach Orchard - 4
15th - 5
Anthony Dejuan Parkway - 1
Mike Padgett - 6
Eve St - 2
Deans Bridge - 7
Gordon - 4
Broad - 3
Brown - 1
Greene St - 2
Harper St - 1
Truxton - 1
9th St - 1
Bobby Jones - 2 (1 fatality, Kervy Williams)
Walton Way - 6
Heph- McBean - 1
MLK - 1
8TH St - 1
Tobacco - 1
Manchester - 1
Robert C. Daniel Jr. - 1
Madrid - 1
Boykin - 2 (1 fatality)
Aiken St - 1
Windsor - 2
Crawford - 1
Meadowbrook - 1
Bennock Mill - 1
Shirley - 1
4th St - 1
Tuttle - 1
Old McDuffie - 1
Nellieville - 1
Clark Rd - 1
Milledgeville - 2
Fenwick - 1
Wall St - 1
13th St - 1
A St - 1
Richmond Hill - 1
Travis Road - 1 (1 fatality Donovan Brown)
Taylor Road - 1
Marks St - 1
Wheeler Road - 1
White Pine - 2
Highland - 1 (1 fatality Kevin Douglas)
Martin Road - 1
Smith Road - 1

Noninjuries 12; injuries 86; death 4
Total strikes: 98 accidents

 

 

2009 pedestrian strikes


Milledgeville - 1
Deans Bridge - 7
Broad - 3
Diamond Lakes - 1
Mike Padgett - 4 (1 fatality Wm Danes)
Patriots Way - 1
Wrightsboro - 7
Butler Manor - 1
2nd St - 1
MLK - 3
Damascus - 1
Cider Lane - 1
Avalon Drive - 1
Walton Way - 3
Wheeler Road - 2
Eagles Way - 1
Deer Trail Court - 1
Fox Trace - 1
Sand Bar Ferry - 2 (1 fatality Anthony Ravenell)
15th St - 2
6th St - 1
Hale St - 1
Olive Road - 1
5th St - 1
Gordon Highway - 5 (1 fatality Gloria Lewis)
11th St - 1
Barton Chapel - 2
Lee Beard - 1
Windsor Spring - 2
Service Dr - 1
Peach Orchard Road - 2
Augusta Bech - 1
Ulm Road - 1
Byrd - 1
Bennock Mill - 1 (1 fatality Shannon Mathis)
Doris Road - 1
Doug Barnard - 1
Washington Road - 3 (1 fatality Herbert Bowman)
Johns Road - 1
Darlwagon - 1
Phinizy - 1
Eagle Drive - 1
Bolt Avenue - 1
Luckey - 1
Tobacco - 1
Kissingbower - 1
Cornelia - 1
Getzen - 1
Merry St. - 1
I20 -1
Highway 88 - 1
Langden - 1
Jeanne Road - 1
Laney Walker - 1
8th - 1
Cadden - 1
Daisy Lane - 1
Old Savannah - 1
Marks Church - 1
Augusta Mall - 1
Eve st - 1
Riverridge - 1
RC Daniel - 1
Garden Spring Lane - 1

106 strikes; 6 noninjuries; 91 injuries; 5 fatal
Total strikes: 97