CDOT wants you to gaze into the eyes of drivers so they don’t hit you while crossing the street

Might help to have a big eyeball mask, though.

Katie Clements, a CDOT eyeball, crosses Speer Boulevard to promote eye contact awareness, Sept. 4, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Katie Clements, a CDOT eyeball, crosses Speer Boulevard to promote eye contact awareness, Sept. 4, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photos

If you’re one of those people who tends to cross the street, the Colorado Department of Transportation would like you to make eye contact with drivers to decrease the chances of them running you over.

Actors with giant eyeball masks repeatedly crossed Speer Boulevard at Larimer Street on Wednesday to draw attention to the idea.

Research suggests that eye contact creates a powerful psychological connection between humans that can extend to street safety. However, CDOT spokesman Sam Cole said the department cannot measure how effective the eyeball masks, the walk-sign-suit guy or other campaigns are at changing behavior and saving lives.

Asked why people walking should be tasked with attracting the attention of drivers, Cole said making eye contact or waving — acknowledging the driver in hopes they acknowledge you — is “common sense.”

CDOT eyeballs stand at a Speer Boulevard corner to promote eye contact awareness, Sept. 4, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

CDOT eyeballs stand at a Speer Boulevard corner to promote eye contact awareness, Sept. 4, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Sam Cole, safety communications manager with CDOT, poses with an eyeball promoting eye contact awareness along Speer Boulevard, Sept. 4, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Sam Cole, safety communications manager with CDOT, poses with an eyeball promoting eye contact awareness along Speer Boulevard, Sept. 4, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

“Yes, I think pedestrians need to do everything they can to ensure their own safety before crossing the street, knowing there’s a lot of distracted drivers, drunk drivers, drugged drivers,” Cole said. “I wish we didn’t have distracted drivers … but until we have perfect drivers out there, I need to take responsibility for my own actions.”

Fifty-five people have died traveling around Denver’s streets this year, 15 of them while walking, according to Denver Police Department data.

This article was updated to correct the number of pedestrians killed in Denver this year, which is 15, not 14.

Hi! You’re like us!

Looks like you’re the type of person who reads to the ends of articles! Well, true believer, you might really like our morning newsletter. It’s quick, free and gets you up to speed on the important and delightful things happening right here in Denver.

Thanks for reading another Denverite story

Looks like you’re the type of person who reads to the ends of articles! Well, true believer, you might really like our morning newsletter. It’s quick, free and gets you up to speed on the important and delightful things happening right here in Denver.Does Denverite help you feel more connected to what’s up in your area? Do you want to be a part of it?

Member donations are critical to our continued existence and growth.

Thanks for reading another Denverite story

Does Denverite help you feel more connected to what’s up in your area? Do you want to be a part of it?

Member donations are critical to our continued existence and growth.

You’re our superpower

Denverite supporters have made the decision to financially support local journalism that matters to you. Ready to tell your networks why? Sharing our “About” page with your own personal comments could really help us out.

You’re our superpower

Denverite members have made the decision to financially support local journalism that matters to you. Ready to tell your networks why? Sharing our “About” page with your own personal comments could really help us out.