2021 a bad year for pedestrians on U.S. 21

By Mike McCombs

Though it can’t be narrowed down to one specific area, U.S. 21 in Beaufort County was a deadly road for pedestrians in 2021.

According to the S.C. Highway Patrol (SCHP), there were five pedestrian-involved fatalities on U.S. 21 in Beaufort alone. And according to Trooper Nicholas T. Pye, the Community Relations Officer for S.C. Highway Patrol Troop 6, which includes Beaufort County, there was no rhyme or reason to the fatalities.

“Every case is different,” Pye said. “The incidents happened in a lot of different ways. With the start of the new year, (the SCHP) just wanted to reach out to the public, to let them know and remind them of safety tips.”

According to Pye, pedestrians should:

If there is a sidewalk available, use it. It provides a lot more safety than the shoulder or anyplace in the road.

Wear something visible, preferably something that can be seen up to 500 feet away, as well as a light, a flashlight or a cell phone.

If there is no sidewalk in the area, walk on the left side of the road, against traffic, allowing you to see the traffic coming.

These tips seem simple, but Pye said the best course of action is to go back to the basics, reminding people what to do. There are all sorts of different people using our roadways, and we can’t zone in on one stretch.

“The only way that we can help prevent these types of fatalities are to patrol the area and then go back to the basics, Pye said.

Pye said there isn’t much room for error for pedestrians.

“The average vehicle is 3,500 pounds,” Pye said. “That’s a little one-sided – 3,500 pounds vs. a 180-pound person. The chance of a fatality is high.”

For drivers, Pye said, the best remedy for these type of incidents is simply to reduce speed. Obey the speed limit and drive undistracted.

“Even if it’s not their fault,” Pye said, (Killing a pedestrian) is something that a motorist would have to live with the rest of their life. It’s a very traumatic experience.”

Mike McCombs is the Editor of The Island News and can be reached at TheIslandNews@gmail.com.

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