Safety is always first priority | Kitsap County Sheriff's Office

The days and weeks following a critical incident provide for  reflection and discussion about the incident itself.  It also allows for opportunities to  present information that reminds us of the need for attention to basic safety protocols.

The recent loss of a 15 year-old girl, a student at South Kitsap High School, due to  injuries sustained from being struck by a vehicle while crossing a roadway, has brought three agencies together in a collaborative effort to discuss safety measures and remind  our customers -- the general public -- that safety is always first priority.

This message will be released in three parts over the next week, and is sponsored by: Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, together with the Kitsap County Traffic Safety Task Force, Kitsap County Department of Public Works and South Kitsap School District.

Slow Your Horses and Yield the Right of Way

Throughout the approaching holiday season and into winter months, the sheriff’s office  and traffic safety task force ask that you please be aware whether driving, walking or biking to take it slow and watch out for others.  Keep in mind that people of all ages and abilities are drivers or pedestrians.

Tips for drivers

• Pay attention and abide by speed limits.  Watch your speed when entering a  school zone.  The fine for speeding in a school zone starts at $189 and


• Be watchful around schools, school buses and school bus stops for children.

• Drive slowly when approaching children riding bicycles and walking near the street.

• Never pass or overtake a vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk.  A  pedestrian is probably in that crosswalk.  This infraction is a $124 ticket.

• Stop for all pedestrians in all crosswalks.

• On a two-lane road, the pedestrian must be completely across the roadway  before you begin moving again.

• On a multi-lane road, you must stop for pedestrians when they are within one lane of your direction of travel.

• Always yield to pedestrians while making turns at intersections.

• Use extra caution when backing out of driveways and while driving around  parking lots.

• Pull to the right and slow or stop to allow emergency vehicles to go by.

• Don’t talk on your cell phone unless you’re using a hands-free mode and don’t  text message while driving.  It is illegal and you will be issued a $124 ticket.

• Utilize your vehicle’s headlights. It helps pedestrians and other motorists see  you.

• Look ahead for potential dangers or people in the roadway or crosswalks; shift  your attention well ahead of the hood of your vehicle.

• Plan to have ample driving time.  A patient driver is a safe driver.

Tips for pedestrians

• Pay close attention to your surroundings and avoid “automatic pilot.”

• Use the sidewalk.  If there is no sidewalk and you must walk on the roadway,

utilize the roadway shoulder (outside of the fog line) and always walk facing


• Look both directions before crossing a roadway.

• Never cross the street against a red traffic signal, even if you don’t see any traffic


• See and be seen – drivers need to see you to avoid you.  Wear bright or light  colored clothing or reflective clothing at night so drivers see you.

• Pedestrians do not have the right of way when crossing mid-block.  Cross  streets at street corners or marked crosswalks or intersections.

• Give drivers ample time to stop prior to entering a crosswalk.

• Remember:  utility poles and boxes along with parked vehicles may obstruct the view of on-coming drivers to readily see you.

• Avoid walking while listening to devices with ear buds or headphones; this reduces your awareness of what’s happening around you and impedes your ability to hear on-coming traffic.

• Always hold a child by the hand while crossing the street and remember:  Walk,  don’t run.

Tips for bicyclists

• Wear light colored outer clothing, preferable with reflective striping.  Wear a  safety helmet.

• Use a bright, white light on the front of your bicycle and a red reflector on the


• When in the street, follow traffic laws required of motor vehicles.  When on sidewalks, travel slowly and yield to pedestrians.

• Ride in a predictable manner, avoiding sudden turns or lane changes.  Signal your intentions ahead of changing lanes.

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