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Kentucky pedestrian safety includes motorist attentiveness at red lights

Stu Johnson

Pedestrian safety remains an issue attracting a lot of attention in Kentucky communities and beyond. Lexington has experienced several vehicle-pedestrian deaths and injuries over the summer months.

 A published report this week talks about interest in some large cities nationally to ban right-on-red turns. There is no known effort to do that in Kentucky. However, Bill Bell with the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety said coming to a complete stop at those lights is important.


“You can be pulled over for not stopping before turning right on red. I’ve spoken with a sheriff’s deputy before and he said he would definitely pull someone over if they do not stop on red before turning right,” said Bell.


Bell said distractions, oftentimes involving the use of a cell phone, continue to be a significant factor in many car-pedestrian collisions. He said non-motorist fatalities have spiked some this year.

“As far as the number of fatalities we’re a little bit ahead of last year’s pace, unfortunately. And the only reason the percentage is less this year is because our overall fatalities are higher, a little bit, this year,” said Bell.

In addition to a continued emphasis on putting down cell phones while driving, Bell said there’s interest in the “Complete Streets Program.” The head of the Office of Highway Safety noted that the program focuses on roads being available for motorists, motorcyclists, transit riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Bell added there are multiple users and there’s a need to plan accordingly.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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