Most crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists happen during poor lighting conditions. The average low-beam headlight shines 160 feet — that’s almost half the length of a football field. An average local speed limit is 40 miles per hour, which is about the length of a bowling lane, per second. What does all of this math mean?

If you’re driving 40 mph at dusk, dawn or nighttime, and you’re using your low beams, you can only see three seconds in front of you. Would you be able to stop fast enough to save a life?


Can you imagine being the reason a family mourns and endures pain, all because of carelessness and physics? We can’t do anything about the physics … but we can be more cognizant, connected and cautious.

This past year in Arkansas alone, there were 82 pedestrian deaths, and 157 people were seriously injured. Fatal crashes took 10 cyclists, and another 41 suffered injuries.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration aims to be the global leader in motor vehicle and highway safety. Through their extensive research, they provide the public with useful information, safety standards and enforcement ideas to save lives, prevent injuries and reduce economic costs due to road traffic crashes. One of their messages is for road users to safely share what already belongs to all of us: Enter the Share the Road campaign.

The goal of Arkansas’s Share the Road messaging is to provide travelers with information on laws, policies, maps, and resources to commute safely on Arkansas roadways, whether by walking, cycling or driving.


A pedestrian crosses the road on an unlit street at night at a red traffic light. 3D rendering.

Cyclists share many of the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle users. Plain and simple, they are allowed to ride on the roadway. Motorists should mind their speed and give cyclists three feet of roadway.


Whether marked or not, crosswalks exists at any public road intersection. Bottom line: If you see someone trying to cross the street, stop and let them do so, safely. It takes less than 30 seconds, and you are contributing to a safer roadway.

Pedestrians aren’t crashing into bicycles or vehicles, but there are steps you can take to mitigate the risk that comes with walking near traffic. For example, always walk facing traffic and be predictable. Use the crosswalk, and if one isn’t available, cross in the best-lit location and wait for a gap in traffic. Maintain your situational awareness by keeping your senses in tune with the surroundings — use only one earbud if listening to music.


Cyclists can ride defensively to avoid accidents. Always ride with traffic. Protect your brain and PLEASE WEAR A HELMET. Most crashes occur in urban areas at night, so plan to stand out at all times — be bright and reflective, and use lights on your bike. Do everything you can to protect yourself. Abiding by so many safety measures may seem tedious, but your life is worth it.

We can’t ignore, however, that the leading cause of traffic fatalities is careless driving. It basically boils down to this: Drivers, you’re in control of a two-ton death machine on wheels. Sure, we can offer more tips on safe cycling and safe walking (which we will absolutely do here in a moment, because safety), but when it comes down to it, a human being vs. a mobile mound of metal matchup won’t ever end well for anyone outside the vehicle. That’s why it is imperative that ALL road users make an effort to look out for one another.


The Arkansas Department of Transportation is receiving grant money from the Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office to help spread the word about sharing the road. The two agencies are working together to produce radio and television spots, billboard and magazine ads, a social media presence, and a dedicated webpage to direct road users to various resources to help all of us Share the Road. We can bring the number of fatalities down, but we have to do this together. Remember that mention about additional safety tips? Here they are — this is how we can be more cognizant, connected and cautious:

CYCLISTS: Be visible and ride alert. Yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and always maintain control of your ride.
Obey traffic laws. The absence of a motor doesn’t exempt you from getting a ticket.
Ride with traffic. It’s the law. Ride on the right for everyone’s safety.
Stay in control. Never ride under the influence, unless you want a DUI.

AT NIGHT: Arkansas law requires you to ride with traffic, have a white front light and rear red reflector light on the bike. Recent legislation now protects you, along with pedestrians in a crosswalk. Wearing reflective and high-visibility clothing increases your chances of being seen.

PEDESTRIANS: Walk against traffic and give extra attention to your surroundings on busy roadways and intersections. Having the right of way does not protect you from a careless driver.
Use the crosswalk. It’s your safest option.
Be present. Try to get visual confirmation from others that they see you.
Be visible. Wear reflective clothing or keep a reflective belt/vest handy when traveling after dark.

AT NIGHT: Your safest option is to walk facing traffic and wear reflective, high-visibility clothing. Use wearable safety lights or your phone’s flashlight while walking near a roadway. Do NOT wear dark colors.

MOTORISTS: Commit to being alert and sharing the road with both pedestrians and bicycles. Be patient at intersections or if a cyclist is using your lane.
Drive alert. Avoid distractions and using devices.
Watch others. Other travelers have the right to use the roadway.
Slow down. Give yourself time to react in case of an incident.

AT NIGHT: Look for reflective, high-visibility clothing or lights at all times, but especially near a crosswalk. Cyclists should have a white light on the front and red reflector on the rear of the bike, and will travel the same direction as traffic. Pedestrians may use wearable safety lights or their phone flashlight to increase visibility.

Don’t add to the statistics—Safely Share the Road.

Arkansas’ Share the Road webpage
More Pedestrian Safety
More Bicycle Safety
National Center for Statistics and Analysis


By Britni Padilla-Dumas

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