Editor's Note: The headline of this story has been updated to say, "Pedestrians in South Orange Encouraged to Use Safety Flags When Crossing the Street."
SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Village officials are testing the effectiveness of pedestrian safety flags, which are small flags that pedestrians hold as they cross a street, the village announced on its website this week.
The safety flags are part of a new initiative to improve pedestrian safety and visibility. The flags will be kept in storage bins at the end of crosswalks in town. When a pedestrian is ready to cross the street, he or she takes a flag out of the bin and waves it to signal to motorists and other pedestrians that they are crossing the street.
"Drivers often miss or ignore pedestrians looking to cross busy streets which is both a public safety and quality of life concern. We hope the flags help our drivers to comply with state law requiring drivers to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk," said South Orange Village Trustee Donna Coallier.
Currently the flags are located at the end of selected crosswalks in town since the initiative is in the testing phase. The locations include Village Plaza and South Orange Avenue and West Montrose Avenue and Academy Heights.
"Visibility is a key safety tool for pedestrians and bicyclists - the flags are bright orange and have reflective tape designed to be seen at night," said South Orange Police Chief Kyle Kroll.
After pedestrians wave the flag and motorists come to a complete stop, the pedestrian is then expected to look both ways and cross the street while holding the flag upright. They should then give a thank you wave and place the flag into the bin on the opposite side of the street.
The new initiative is intended to help make people feel safer when they cross a street.
"Our seniors can feel particularly vulnerable in crossing our busiest streets and we hope these flags help to keep them safely walking and mobile," said South Orange Village Trustee Karen Hartshorn Hilton.