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Columbia making safety changes to try to protect citizens

The Five Points district of the city of Columbia, South Carolina, will be making safety changes to keep pedestrians safe following a deadly pedestrian accident and subsequent public requests. As we reported earlier on this blog, the deadly accident occurred in June when a dump truck failed to stop far enough away from the crosswalk and struck a person in a motorized wheelchair crossing the intersection. In light of the accident, the Five Points Association asked city officials to take steps to ensure the safety of pedestrians in the area, as well as drivers.

The city has responded with several new safety precautions targeted towards keeping citizens safe. First, they have changed the style of crosswalks to promote increased visibility. While they cannot move the lines farther away from the crosswalk due to requirements for handicapped pedestrians, they have increased their size and visibility by changing to a "ladder" type crosswalk instead of a double line. Additionally, they are adding new signs around the city that make it clear when turning on red is prohibited.

However, local police are not planning to increase patrols or further monitor vehicle speeds. According to police spokesmen, there is little more they can do outside of their current involvement in the area.

The need to increase the visibility of pedestrians and to remind drivers to be aware of pedestrians shows that pedestrian safety may not always be on a driver's mind. It is this inattention or carelessness that often leads to pedestrian accidents. For instance, failing to be mindful of bike riders or individuals crossing crosswalks are common incidents where a negligent driver can make a quick mistake that results in serious injury.

For those who are harmed in pedestrian accidents, the damage can be serious. The cost of medical care can be extraordinary, and those injured by no fault of their own can seek legal assistance to cover the potentially life-long costs associated with pedestrian accidents.

Source: WLTX.com, "Safety Changes Coming to Columbia's Five Points," Nate Stewart, July 13, 2012

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