Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Drivers don't Yield to Pedestrians

Yesterday while conducting a bike count at Church and Mission, in front of Bush House and the Blind School, the most surprising result was the proportion of auto drivers who failed to yield for pedestrians.

Here's the crosswalk and pedestrian median looking east, towards 12th street. It's clearly signed and marked. This is not an ambiguous, uncertain intersection!

During a two hour interval, when joggers or walkers arrived at the crosswalk, and when traffic was flowing (we didn't count if traffic was stopped or large gaps in traffic made crossing easy), 15 drivers stopped and 27 drivers blew past the waiting person on foot. By almost 2:1, drivers failed to stop for pedestrians!

The law says:
At any other crosswalks - whether marked with paint or unmarked - drivers must: Stop and remain stopped for pedestrians until they have cleared the lane in which you are traveling (or into which you are turning) and the next lane.

It would be interesting to count the number of drivers still talking on cel phones or texting. We saw many instances of each, but did not count them.

This was a complicated intersection with people bicycling, walking, jogging, scootering and skating, and driving. If a parking lot dumps more traffic onto Winter, improving the crossing even more for a wide range of road users may be necessary.


Anonymous said...

Why are you surprised? As a pedestrian the first rule is to assume that the person who isn't walking doesn't see you and won't stop.

I've stopped for peds on Broadway in Salem, and had the driver behind me go around on the right (and almost cream the peds).

And, to keep this modal-agnostic, bicyclist fail to obey this law as well, and seemingly more completely (at least in PDX).


Anonymous said...

Eric - What you (and others, including myself) need to advocate for is the installment of pedestrian flags at crossing locations like this. (Maybe if that woman in the electric wheelchair crossing State St. this summer -- who got hit in the crosswalk and died -- had one of these, the driver might have noticed her sooner and stopped in time. I saw the accident site (not the accident itself) on my way back from a BTA lunch at Sassy Onion.

Do a google search of "pedestrian flags" for lots of resources of cities (Kirkland, Berkeley, etc.) that have done test cases and implemented them.

Here's a link to a supplier

While on vacation in Chelan WA, I used one of these flags to get from my hotel to the Safeway across the street, and it was very useful for stopping traffic, although it helped that it was a 2-lane street, with a low-speed limit.... just like Mission St.!!! (plus, drivers there were probably used to pedestrians using those flags).