August is Pedestrian Safety Month in Hawai’i
Governor David Ige and the Hawai’i Department of Transportation kicked off the state’s 7th annual Pedestrian Safety Month on Wednesday with a proclamation signing at the State Capitol.
Hawai’i is the only state in the nation with a month dedicated to pedestrian safety. The campaign aims to create heightened awareness of pedestrian safety, with the ultimate goal of saving lives and making Hawai’i a safer place to walk.
Pedestrian-related community events and campaigns will be held throughout the month to encourage safe pedestrian behaviors and raise driver awareness of pedestrians. (See Calendar Below).
There have been two pedestrian fatalities and one near-fatal incident so far on Maui this year, with the most recent fatality occurring nearly a week ago.
“Hawai’i’s beautiful weather year round makes it an ideal environment for walkable communities, with people of all ages walking, jogging and moving about for both transportation and recreation. With more vehicles, more bicycles and more pedestrians, it is vitally important that all roadway users remain vigilant at all times and look out for each other,” said Ford Fuchigami, Hawai’i Department of Transportation Director.
“Unfortunately, more roadway users make Hawai’i more susceptible to having a high number of pedestrian injuries and fatalities. The number one reason for pedestrian-related crashes is inattention – either on the pedestrian or driver’s part, or both. Our Walk Wise Hawai’i program is an important tool that works with enforcement, safety engineering and other educational efforts to reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries in our state. Remember to drive wise and walk wise so that all roadway users make it home safely.”
During the event, HDOT announced several new pedestrian-related initiatives that are targeted at pedestrians and drivers including McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawai’i.
McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawai’i is joining forces with Walk Wise Hawai’i to educate its customers on the importance of being visible while walking in the early morning and evening hours, when most pedestrian-related crashes occur.
The restaurant will be featuring the “Be Seen at Night” message on tray liners at 74 McDonald’s Restaurants throughout the state during the month of August. Tray liners will include safety tips on how pedestrians can be more visible to drivers. It is expected that more than half a million customers will be exposed to this message.
McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawai’i is also going beyond their restaurant doors to spread these safety messages. The company will be hosting a series of “Be Seen at Night” events throughout the state, where they will distribute Walk Wise Hawai’i’s “Seven Steps to Safety” brochures and wearable safety lights for pedestrians.
In addition, they will distribute 9,000 brochures entitled, “Seven Pedestrian Tips for Kupuna” at senior fairs and senior group presentations statewide through the Walk Wise Hawai’i outreach program.
As an incentive to be a good pedestrian, each senior who takes the Walk Wise Hawai’i pledge to follow all seven tips will receive a coupon for a free small coffee or hot tea at any McDonald’s in the state.
“We are pleased to support Pedestrian Safety Month as part of our commitment to educating kupuna, parents and keiki to safely cross roads as well as to inform drivers to be more aware of pedestrians,” said Melanie Okazaki, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawai’i regional marketing manager.
Public Service Announcements
HDOT unveiled three new public service announcements to remind pedestrians that it is illegal and unsafe to enter the crosswalk once the walk signal changes to the countdown timer or flashing hand signal.
Each PSA consisted of two characters crossing the street, with the “more aware” character alerting the “less aware” pedestrian to refrain from crossing the street after the countdown signal has started.
PSA #1 included a knowledgeable (but less aware) grandfather out walking with his granddaughter. PSA #2 included a woman jogging with her dog. PSA #3 included a businessman holding a puppet. Tag lines for the PSAs are:
· “If a child can figure it out, so can you!”
· “If a dog can figure it out, so can you!”
· “If a dummy can figure it out, so can you!”
The spots will air on select television stations and movie theaters beginning in August.
HDOT’s Pedestrian Safety Month campaign is a collaboration of partners from the government, private and non-profit sectors. Partners include the City & County of Honolulu’s Department of Transportation Services; the four county police departments; the Honolulu Police Department’s Community Policing Teams and Neighborhood Security Watch Teams; Safe Routes to School; McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawai’i; Moms In Hawai’i; and the Federal Highway Administration.
For more information on Walk Wise Hawai’i and a list of specific Pedestrian Safety Month events, please call 587-2160 or visit here.