The Bright Side

Walking across a road, even at a crosswalk, can change your life.
As George Walther from his wheelchair humorously said “Getting hit the second time by a car kind of takes the fun out of it.” Few people have had the misfortune of being hit twice by a car, and even fewer are alive to talk about the experience. Walking across the road and being hit by a car, as Samantha Norris was last week on Highway 120, may be the last thing you will ever do, but that doesn’t have to happen. There are things that can be done to prevent it from happening or at least greatly reduce the chances of it happening. There are many causes for accidents in crosswalks some are listed below:

  • Improper Lane Use (motorist)
  • Left-Hand Turns (motorist)
  • Use of electronics (both)
  • Quiet Cars (motorist and pedestrian)
  • Dark Clothes (pedestrian)
  • Alcohol (motorist and pedestrian)
  • Distractions (everyone)
  • Texting (everyone)

Some of these accidents are a pedestrian’s fault, and some are due to the fault of the motorist. With the exception of a deranged individual, as soon as a motorist sees a pedestrian, he or she typically takes action to avoid hitting the pedestrian. So anything that can be done to enable a driver to see, or be made aware that there is a pedestrian in the crosswalk, then the sooner the driver can and will take action to avoid hitting the pedestrian. This increases the chances that the pedestrian will not be injured crossing the street.

Many methods have been tried, and they all can help, but nothing enables the driver to actually see a pedestrian better and take appropriate action to avoid hitting one, than to brightly and a selectively illuminate the crosswalks and the pedestrians in them, as well as those about to enter the crosswalk. The following picture shows a system that already exists and it just has to be implemented. It doesn’t have to wait to be invented as Emanuel L. Logan’s Door Guard (a security exit crash bar). But it does require that those in charge care enough to implement it at the city’s crosswalks.

Safety should not be “tombstone legislation”, but it all too often is.

One Alternative

Crosswalks Safety

Jim Gehrz, Star Tribune Workmen Dave Boe, left, and Greg Barthelemy applied heat to thermoplastic material as they installed a crosswalk at Round Lake Park, Minnesota

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