ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. --
With Summer weather dwindling as Fall approaches, members of Team Ellsworth and their families often take advantage of the warmer weather for outdoor activities, such as running or walking around the base lakes and bicycle riding, but it’s important that both pedestrians and drivers are aware of each other and their surroundings.
“One of the most important things that people should remember when using sidewalks is to ensure they are facing traffic,” said Staff Sgt. Kenneth Hill, an occupational safety technician assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing ground safety office. “This way, the pedestrian has view of oncoming traffic and drivers may have a better chance of seeing a person on the sidewalks.”
Hill emphasized that if pedestrians are wearing listening or entertainment devices (other than hearing aids) while engaging in any physical activity, such as walking or running, near a roadway, it is required to remove the device from your ears prior crossing any street or intersection. Once the individual crosses the street, they may continue using their device.
“Another thing we really stress the importance of is ensuring that both pedestrian and driver look up and make eye contact prior to crossing a crosswalk,” Hill said. “This helps ensure both people are aware of their surroundings and of each other. Don’t assume that the driver will see you, or you will see the pedestrian.”
Hill also noted that pedestrians should wear highly noticeable clothing during the day, and clothing with reflective material during the evening to ensure high visibility, to include lighter colored clothing. Additionally, individuals are required to wear the proper safety equipment appropriate for the activity, such as helmets, elbow and knee pads while bicycling or skating, while on base.
Also, with the new school year kicking off next week, Hill said it is extremely important to be extra aware of surroundings and to be on the lookout for children crossing the street, playing on or around a playground, and even boarding busses.
“Now that school is starting, some drivers might not be used to seeing children walking around,” Hill said. “Ground Safety urges people to be highly vigilant, especially around schools, playgrounds, bus stops and residential areas. An issue we had last year was people not stopping behind a school bus when the bus is stopped and the stop sign on the vehicle is out.”
For more information, call the 28th BW Safety office at (605) 385-4909.