By Master Sgt. Samuel Torbett, 17th Security Forces Squadron
/ Published May 29, 2007
GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
As I drive around the base, I have noticed some behaviors recently by motorists and pedestrians that are unsafe and unlawful. Pedestrian rules of the road can be found in Goodfellow Air Force Base Instruction 31-204, Air Force Motor Vehicle Traffic Supervision, and the Texas Traffic Code.
Many people driving on base will stop when they see a pedestrian who wants to cross the road, regardless of whether they are at a crosswalk or not. This is a very good behavior, but it has led some to false perceptions on the part of motorists and pedestrians.
Crosswalks are designated crossing areas that tell motorists where they might expect pedestrians and provide a safe place for pedestrians to cross a street or roadway.
The following simple rules help determine if the motorist or the pedestrian has the right of way.
Rule 1: Pedestrians in or entering a crosswalk always have the right of way.
Rule 2: Drivers must always yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk or elsewhere if the pedestrian is in the street.
Rule 3: Pedestrians must yield to vehicles when crossing the street at other than marked crosswalks or at intersections.
Rule 4: It is unlawful for pedestrians to step into the street in front of a moving vehicle so closely as to constitute an imminent danger. The driver may be distracted or inattentive and not see the pedestrian.
Rule 5: Pedestrians are not in the road when on a sidewalk. Therefore, drivers are not required to stop in anticipation that a pedestrian will enter the street. Pedestrians, remember this: just because you are standing on the curb by a crosswalk does not mean traffic must stop for you.
Rule 6: When driving and approaching an intersection or marked crosswalk, the driver should be alert for all pedestrian movement and be prepared to yield.
Rule 7: Pedestrians should establish eye contact with drivers and ensure the vehicle is stopped, or at least visibly slowing down, before entering the street.
General Rules: With the weather getting warmer, we will see an increase of pedestrian traffic on the base. With this increase the possibility of a vehicle/pedestrian accident increases also. These are common sense rules designed for your safety and the safety of vehicle operators on Goodfellow.
Rule 1: Pedestrians will use sidewalks or safety zones where provided. Where sidewalks are not provided, pedestrians will walk on the left side of the roadway, facing traffic and not more than two abreast.
Rule 2: Pedestrians/joggers will not wear headphones except on the quarter-mile running track or the cross-country trail.
Rule 3: Marching formations or unit physical training formations will use road guards when crossing any roadway on Goodfellow. Additionally, formations will move on the right side of the roadway with the traffic flow.
Courtesy is a trait that comes naturally to most military personnel, and it is one of the things that civilians tend to notice most. When one sees a pedestrian trying to cross the street, the polite thing to do is to stop, if that can be done safely, and yield the right of way. No one will argue that a pedestrian in a crosswalk has the legal right of way, but if they step in front of a moving vehicle they may also end up legally dead. Common courtesy is a very good thing, but only when partnered with common sense.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact the security forces operations staff at 654-3515.