As we roll into fall and winter, and daylight becomes a shorter commodity, the City of Grand Rapids is reminding drivers to watch out for pedestrians.

Actually they’re really pushing the message “Head Up, GR! Stop for pedestrians. It’s the law.” Which it is.  Last year they passed an ordinance where drivers are legally supposed to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks that aren’t with a traffic light.

Julie Niemchick with the Grand Rapids Police Department posted on the Nextdoor app, a press release about encouraging pedestrian safety,

As daylight hours grow shorter and weather conditions worsen, pedestrians can be difficult to see. Statistics show there is an increase in pedestrians being struck by vehicles in the fall in Grand Rapids. To reduce that trend, the City of Grand Rapids is encouraging drivers to be mindful of pedestrians.

The "HEADS UP, GR!" program was created a few years ago when the city realized that going into fall and winter months, pedestrian accidents were on the rise.

In the press release on the Nextdoor app, they quoted Kristin Bennett, with the Grand Rapids Traffic Safety Division, with some advice for pedestrians,

“I think that Pedestrians. The key is that you shouldn’t assume people can see you. So always try to make eye contact with a driver, especially if you’re trying to cross the street. We want to encourage people to be as predictable as possible and as visible as possible.”

and for drivers,

“I think the big key one is always aware that are pedestrians, and even bicyclists, out year-round and in all weather. They should always be focused on following the speed limits, allowing you to stop quickly in the event they see a pedestrian that’s crossing.”

Just remember, it's the law that you stop for people waiting to cross the street at crosswalks - even if no one else is stopping, you should.  Be part of the reason that pedestrian stays safe.

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