For what seems like the umpteenth time, I’ve nearly been run over while in the crosswalk, with the right of way, mind you, in my neighborhood. Unconscious drivers in their unspeakable hurry, have cut in front of me while I was walking, driven immediately behind me, or in one instance, nearly hit my daughter as apparently waiting for the pedestrian to be safely back up on the sidewalk was just too much to ask.
The law in Colorado states: “Vehicles must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within a crosswalk that are in the same half of the roadway as the vehicle or when a pedestrian is approaching closely enough from the opposite side of the roadway to be in a danger.” Leave it to a lawmaker to complicate the language enough to make most readers wonder what this means. It means, in plain English, that the car must stop when the pedestrian is about halfway across. This does not say “Go ahead and cut in front of them, or honk your horn as you pass ten feet behind them.” Yes, both of which have happened to me.
I’ve complained to the mayor about the lack of sensitivity on drivers’ parts in my own neighborhood, especially after one had to run off the road to avoid hitting the car in front of him that had actually stopped for my family. I am happy to report that there are changes in a particularly dangerous crosswalk underway as I write. The effectiveness of these changes will be indeed interesting to see.
A car is a 3500 pound chunk of hot metal, filled with flammable liquid, and capable of incredible speed. A pedestrian is at the driver’s mercy, certainly, but what if we drivers go back to doing everything we can to protect the pedestrians with these giant shields? A pedestrian no matter where they are in the crosswalk should have the right of way. That little green man means they get to cross!The least a driver can do is wait until the pedestrian gets to the median.
Look at these numbers: “In 2012, pedestrian deaths rose to their highest level since 2006, increasing by 6.4 percent from 2011 to a total of 4,743 pedestrian fatalities. Injuries rose by 10 percent during the same time period. Furthermore, pedestrian deaths now make up 14 percent of the total traffic deaths in the U.S., up from 11 percent in 2011.” Pedestrian Laws 50 State Summary This is taken from the National Conference of State Legislatures, and was updated in April of this year.
Distracted and hasty driving behaviors are surely partly to blame. Let’s make the roads even safer for those traveling by foot. This pedestrian, and many many more at least in my neighborhood, would love to know they can safely head out for a stroll any time they wish.