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The Problem with Pedestrians


Tuesday, March 5, 2013
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On the one hand, I applaud traffic engineers’ efforts to assist and create pedestrian safety. Pedestrian crossings at many busy intersections have electronic buttons to push to change signals for safe crossings; large, marked crosswalks; placement of crosswalks at “logical” spots, where highly visible streets and roads intersect each other, usually at 90 degrees; flashing lights and signals to aid pedestrians with time elements; and usually clear lines of sight for pedestrians and motorists.

On the other hand, it seems to me that common sense should be the rule for pedestrians when crossing in crosswalks other than at signalized crossings – not just a California law requiring that the motorist notice a difficult-to-see pedestrian crossing the roadway where there are no signals or markings other than a white painted crosswalk. Most motorists I know do not speed, and they try to avoid pedestrians, negotiate other crazy drivers, and, overall, try to get from Point A to Point B as safely as possible.

I believe the police stings that target drivers who may violate the pedestrian-crossing law do not take into consideration all of the variables that drivers must face: dangerous tailgaters, glare, weather, size of pedestrian, cars ahead of the driver making turns, and the difficulty in seeing a single pedestrian coming from an angle that could be blocked by another vehicle.

Reducing the number of dangerous variables is the reason why there are so many engineering implements at signalized pedestrian crossings and the lack of these same implements is dangerous for all. Simply, a large lighted signal can be seen for miles; but, a tiny pedestrian crossing in the middle of a road can be easily missed.

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

Blaming the victim, are we?

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
March 5, 2013 at 4:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

A driver that hits a careless pedestrian can be a victim too. Obviously, no matter who is at fault, it's usually the pedestrian that pays the highest price.

Botany (anonymous profile)
March 5, 2013 at 5:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

That third paragraphis is ridiculous. As motorists, we are responsible for being careful when those conditions exist.

And if you can't spot a small human at an intersection, that may be a sign you need corrective lenses.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
March 5, 2013 at 9:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

My favorite parts:

"Most motorists I know do not speed, and they try to avoid pedestrians"

Not always sucessfully?

"not just a California law requiring that the motorist notice a difficult-to-see pedestrian crossing the roadway where there are no signals or markings other than a white painted crosswalk"

Are not the crosswalk markings themselves a sign to slow down/look out for pedestrians?

And this litany of : "all of the variables that drivers must face: dangerous tailgaters, glare, weather, size of pedestrian, cars ahead of the driver making turns, and the difficulty in seeing a single pedestrian coming from an angle that could be blocked by another vehicle."

1. tailgaters are generally behind and not in front, front is where you need to look for pedestrians
2. glare. If you can't see slow down if not stop!
3. weather. Don't drive fast in the rain or in conditions in which you can't see!
4. If they're ahead of you and you're not tailgating you'll probably have time to see and stop for a pedestrian!
5. Angle blocked by another vehicle. If that vehicle stops, maybe you should too!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
March 5, 2013 at 10:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

it not fair too make driveing so hard wen ther ar so many pidestreeans and rulez.

spacey (anonymous profile)
March 6, 2013 at 1:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

They should make street walking illegal.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
March 6, 2013 at 1:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Driver's licenses are mandatory. Maybe we should mandate pedestrian licensing. I bet Das Williams would be willing to sponsor an assembly bill.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
March 7, 2013 at 7:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

How about WUI? Walking (or staggering) under the influence.

Botany (anonymous profile)
March 7, 2013 at 7:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

On a four-lane road with heavy traffic, it's dangerous to be the only driver stopping for a ped who'd be suicidal to cross at that moment. A weak-willed ped might even feel pressured to cross unsafely. But what an opportunity for the police to write up a slew of tickets and fatten up the city coffers! They can't be seen lagging behind piratical CHP's who stake out straight stretches of country highway where it's safe to exceed the speed limit, instead of staking out areas that are accident-prone. Arrrh, matey! Pieces of eight!

Adonis_Tate (anonymous profile)
March 11, 2013 at 8:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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