The Rapid City Police Department is launching a safety campaign to try to decrease the number of pedestrian-related injuries in the Black Hills community.
The South Dakota Office of Highway Safety is providing a $40,000 grant for the campaign, The Rapid City Journal reported Sunday.
A 10-year study from the Office of Highway Safety shows that the statewide average for pedestrian-related injuries was 13 people per 100,000. In Rapid City, however, the number of pedestrian injuries was more than double that – 30 per 100,000 people.
“We can’t quite put our finger on it, but it just seems that Rapid City is just not as pedestrian-friendly as other communities,” said Rapid City Police Capt. Dan Rud.
The state study did not examine why more pedestrians are struck in Rapid City, but Rud speculates that a combination of a busy tourist season, a high number of bicycles and pedestrians moving around downtown and inattentive drivers all play a role.
Rud said the purpose of the campaign is to educate motorists and pedestrians. It will last through the summer and use TV and radio ads, billboards and social media.
“Human bodies don’t match a 2,000-pound car, so pedestrians need to be aware of their surroundings,” Rud said.
Ervin Berg, 69, said both walkers and drivers need to keep their wits about them, but especially drivers.
“I’m a firm believer in the Darwinian theory; if these idiots want to walk across the street in the middle of traffic and a green light, they’re going to get what they get,” Berg said.
John Ashley, who owns Mickey’s Hot Dogs in downtown Rapid City, said he sees near-misses between cars and people every day.
“Drivers don’t look and walkers don’t look, so that makes a bad combo,” Ashley said.
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