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Pedestrian safety tips

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EUREKA- A skateboarder was injured after he was struck by a motorist in Eureka on Tuesday.  Now, the Eureka Police Department is urging pedestrians and drivers to follow certain steps to stay as safe as possible. 

In 2014, there were at least 30 collisions involving pedestrians in Eureka, with two fatalities.  So far this year, one pedestrian has died.  Police say the skateboarder who was injured at the intersection of 6th Street and E Street on Tuesday was at fault.

"He went ahead and entered the intersection on a 'don't walk' signal and the vehicle heading westbound on 6th had a green light and they ended up making contact with each other," said Officer Dave Chapman, the Traffic Officer with the Eureka Police Department.

Other motorists say they’ve had close calls with skateboarders.

"Just going against traffic and just darting in front of you," said John Thomas, who regularly drives through Eureka. 

Drivers say they’ve had similar experiences with pedestrians as well.

"It's happened to me a lot of times where pedestrians don't look to see if a car is coming.  And I think, well, it's a good thing I saw them.  But they don't look.  They go, 'I'll be seen,' and they just start walking," said Lisa Landis, who drives in Eureka multiple times per week.

"They just walk out in front of you," said Christina Ward, who commutes to Eureka from Arcata.

Now, officials with the Eureka Police Department are urging pedestrians to follow these steps.

"Before stepping out in the roadway, look at the conditions, depending on if it's sunny out, look down the roadway.  There may be vehicles coming toward them that are slower and there may be vehicles approaching those slower vehicles from the rear and in an empty lane and they're driving in excess of the speed limit.  They need to take into account all lanes of traffic that they're crossing," Officer Chapman said.

Something some pedestrians say they regularly do.

"When I'm a pedestrian, I typically stop and look for cars coming both ways and if there's somebody coming, I'll wait, if they're far enough away, I'll cross, but I'm very aware," said Esther Marshall, who works in Eureka.

Officers say to use crosswalks when they’re available and pay attention to road signs and signals.

"If everybody follows the signs and signage and traffic control signals, then everyone has a better chance of getting to their destination safely, when they don't, we have these collisions, people get hurt and they get sent to the hospital," said Officer Chapman.

EPD officials say motorists should follow this recommendation.

"Drive the speed limit.  That's all I recommend, and then your reaction time will increase, perception and reaction time, and you'll be able to break if you have to for anyone who is crossing legally or crossing illegally," Officer Chapman said.

The Office of Traffic Safety reports Eureka had the second most pedestrian collisions for a city of its size in 2012.