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Where the Fault Lies in Crosswalk Collisions (Hint: It’s Not the People on Foot)

According to the UC Berkeley Traffic Safety Center, more than 80 percent of crosswalk collisions are related to driver behavior – not pedestrian behavior.

From a salutary editorial in the Sacramento Bee.

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This entry was posted on Friday, August 14th, 2009 at 5:17 pm and is filed under Pedestrians, Risk, Traffic safety. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

9 Responses to “Where the Fault Lies in Crosswalk Collisions (Hint: It’s Not the People on Foot)”

  1. John Says:

    The pedestrian’s always right. I believe some kids in my area have learned this, and sometimes push the envelope, when they walk, with how close they get to the driving lane of a car. Teens can be provocative. But “they are always right,” right? I would stop.

  2. Rich Wilson Says:

    Tell that to the parents of Axel Pablo: http://wcbstv.com/topstories/hit.by.cab.2.1127581.html

  3. fred_dot_u Says:

    The linked article suggests that pedestrians hurry through intersections. This defeats the “educational” aspect to the driver approaching the intersection in which the pedestrian has the right of way and the motorist is expected to yield. Even though I usually drive my velomobile, I yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk, specifically when making a right turn, which often elicits a horn honk from the motor vehicle operator behind me. A ten second delay is better than an hours’ long police investigation for a crash.

  4. Dave in KY Says:

    In Kentucky, peds even have to yield when they’re in crosswalks.

    KRS 189.570(9) “No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.”

    Second-class citizen is an understatement, eh?

  5. Lee Hanna Says:

    Not quite the same thing, but this morning’s Columbus Dispatch had a different angle: the front page related that jaywalking is a major cause of car-pedestrian deaths. Outside the crosswalk, that is.

    http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2009/08/15/pedestriancrash.ART_ART_08-15-09_A1_OREPBBR.html?sid=101

  6. Josh R Says:

    Dave, to be fair that KY law is pretty clearly not making walkers yield in a crosswalk, it’s just saying that you can’t step out into the road when a car is 10 feet away doing 35 mph. Laws like that are generally reasonable, as they’re just saying “Drivers can’t change the laws of physics, so don’t be a dumbass and force them to try.”

    When you get down to it, a walker stepping off the curb with traffic too close is the same as a driver cutting in front of a loaded semi and then braking, both are expecting another person to preform a stop that may not be possible. If said stop turns out to not be possible, and a crash happens, the driver or walker who expected the impossible is at fault.

    Now if you step off the curb at a crosswalk when a car is two blocks away, you have every right to expect the driver to slow or stop as needed for you to safely cross, and if you’re standing at a crosswalk waiting, drivers should stop for you. This doesn’t happen nearly often enough, but it doesn’t mean that you’re in the right if you walk right out without warning. (Plus you’ll be dead.)

  7. Bossi Says:

    I’d be curious to review the UC Berkeley study & how it interpreted the crash data. Legally, most ped/veh crashes are the fault of the driver regardless of what the ped was doing. However, in practice that may not have necessarily been so. Legal definitions shouldn’t be a factor in such a usage of the data.

  8. njkayaker Says:

    In NJ, pedestrians have the right-of-way when they are -in- the crosswalk. They still are required to follow traffic signals, etc, before they enter the crosswalk. The Kentucky law appears to be indicating that pedestrians has a requirement to yield (effectively) to cars before they enter the crosswalk.

  9. spiderleggreen Says:

    I’d be curious about bikes and cross walks. I commute across one everyday. It is a bike path. The road is a 4 lane and the cars are traveling at speeds up 45mph. I feel I have the right of way when crossing, but always test the drivers, to see if they’re going to stop. I do this by making it appear that I’m entering the crosswalk. If they react by slowing down, I go. If they don’t slow down, I do whatever I can to make them aware that I’m there, and would like to cross. I think it’s important to let these drivers know that they need to share the road. By not being completely passive, hopefully I’m training some of them.

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