Crosswalks Should Be Safe Spaces For Pedestrians

Portion of Pedestrian Right-of-Way Crosswalk on Pearl Road

A crosswalk is a kind of promise. When we step into the street, we believe that drivers will stop. The white lines are a promise that we will be safe. Parma Heights takes care to re-paint the lines every year or so. The crosswalks ask us to trust one another. But having a solo pedestrian crosswalk on a busy State route is useless, or even worse, an actual hazard. 

Will the redesign of State Route 42/Pearl Road make it safer for pedestrians with a pedestrian activated crosswalk going across this busy street?  Why couldn't this crosswalk have been put at the closest next street which would have been Notobene Drive?  Ohio law says motorists must yield to any pedestrian who is "within" a crosswalk, marked or unmarked. But pedestrians can't count on motorists in all lanes knowing the law; one might stop, but will the others? Motorists who do stop can't count on the driver behind them stopping; do the right thing, and you can end up getting rear-ended.

Technology, such as signals that flash when pedestrians approach a mid-block crosswalk may help. One understands that pedestrians have as much right to the road as vehicles. But motorists are the ones inside a ton or two of steel capable of killing a person. The cars should yield, but pedestrians need to remember that they might not. The crosswalk is located within an area that has high traffic density, and multiple lanes, and a few drivers do more than the speed limit.  

Drivers and pedestrians have a duty to reasonably prevent accidents. City governments have a duty to maintain safe intersections, roads, and crosswalks. Yet no matter how many safety measures are taken, the old rule still applies. Don’t cross unless you can look the driver in the eyes first!

Emery Pinter

Worked in marketing research, marketing, and was a Librarian and Bookstore Manager.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 11:21 AM, 06.01.2021