Astoria, Oregon gives pedestrians orange flags for visibility

A safety experiment in Astoria appears to be flagging. After several pedestrians got hit by vehicles, and one died last year, the city has put orange flags at two busy downtown intersections so that walkers can carry them across the street and be more visible to drivers.

But a Daily Astorian reporter saw few people using the flags. Some who use the flags are apparently pitching them in gutters, so they show up dark and discolored in the buckets where they’re picked up and deposited.

And the flags are disappearing rapidly, the newspaper reported: 27 of the first 40 put out during the first week were swiped.

The city bought a case of the flags on sticks — 300 at 75 cents each.

“We actually, I have to admit, are having trouble keeping them stocked. They are being taken,” City Manager Paul Benoit told the City Council. “We fortunately bought an entire case of flags, so we continue to put them out. But they are being taken, and that has been the experience of other communities.”

The paper also said at least one pedestrian was reported waving a flag at cars, either confused about the flag’s purpose or just misusing it.