recently been under a lot of scrutiny, and it’s no wonder. On Oct. 30, NASA
Johnson Space Center Director Mark Geyer sent the following note to employees:
An employee was struck by a vehicle on-site
at a crosswalk just last week. The employee went to the clinic and is
doing well, but this serves as a good opportunity for all of us to take a
moment to think about pedestrian safety. I often drive into the center
before the sun is up and I can attest to the fact that it is critical that
drivers and pedestrians are aware of their surroundings as we transition to
work. Please take a moment to review the following reminders about
As Geyer conveyed
during the Nov. 6 All Hands (watch
it if you missed it!), that simple note garnered more feedback to his mailbox
than any other issue had ever before. Crosswalks may seem mundane, especially
when considering the daring work we do to explore the cosmos every day, but even
in the mundane lies possible danger.
There are 3 big
things to remember about crosswalks as we press forward in our important tasks
to maintain a robust human presence in space:
#1: Distracted pedestrians are complicit in
the risks associated with crosswalks.
When you enter a
crosswalk, your sole focus, at that moment in time, should only be on crossing
safely. The pull to check and gaze at our pocketable computers, or smartphones,
is strong — but we must avoid any activities that impede our line of sight of
Other guidelines to consider:
Do not cross the street at any other point
than a crosswalk.
When preparing to enter a crosswalk, ensure
you are seen by oncoming traffic prior to stepping off the curb and proceeding
into the crosswalk.
Look both ways before crossing a street and
before stepping from behind a parked vehicle.
#2: Even though it may be dark outside,
there are still pedestrians (and deer!).
While it may be
tempting for drivers to be lax in their attention to possible hazards during
dusk or dawn, just like them — others
are also working and/or commuting. It’s even more crucial for drivers to be
aware and focused on their surroundings in low-light situations. With the
recent time change, there are increased periods of limited visibility — and
thus, increased danger for drivers and pedestrians.
#3: Obey the speed limit and be courteous.
Around site, the
speed limit is usually 25 mph and, during some timeframes, even less. Despite
this, there are still close calls entered about drivers whipping through
crosswalks or speeding merrily on their way. This should simply not be
happening. Obey the posted speed limits, and be courteous as you wield your more-than-2,000-pound
hunks of metal and plastic on the roadways.
And bicyclists, we see you. Here are some guidelines
to consider as you add to the roadway mix:
Walk a bicycle across a dangerous
intersection and all pedestrian crosswalks.
Do not weave in and out of traffic or ride
out from behind a parked vehicle.
Flow with traffic; do not “squeeze through”
on the right or left side of traffic.
For more on
Johnson’s official traffic regulations, check
out the handbook. All things considered, it’s this November’s must-read.
Newly painted Dare.Unite.Explore crosswalk. Image courtesy of Nick Page.