Pedestrians, Crosswalks and Frogger

I think many would agree that motor vehicle regulations have been put in place to address safety issues and to keep us safe. To be effective, these laws must be understood and applied fairly, not arbitrarily or capriciously. Given that broad statement, how should we drivers respond to pedestrians in crosswalks?

If you condense the VDOT Crosswalk statutes to their understandable part, what are we required to do when we come across a pedestrian and a crosswalk? VDOT laws can be found at http://www.virginiadot.org, specifically for crosswalks; 46.2-924 Drivers to stop for pedestrians.

If the speed limit on the road is 35 MPH or less, you are required to “yield the right of way to any pedestrian crossing…” Drivers entering, crossing, or turning at intersections shall change course, yield, slow down, or stop if necessary to permit pedestrians cross such intersections safely and expeditiously.

So, there you are driving down Pacific Ave down at the oceanfront and somebody steps into the crosswalk. You now slow down and some horn-happy driver behind you lets you know that apparently he is late for some important occasion. Or, even worse, that driver whips around you and then almost nails the pedestrian in the crosswalk. It is getting almost as dangerous for you to stop (getting rear-ended) as it is for the pedestrian if you don’t stop.

It seems like driver-pedestrian encounters are too commonplace and a lose-lose situation with mostly deadly consequences. People from other parts of the world where pedestrian crosswalk laws are rigidly enforced don’t know what applies. Some pedestrians become trapped in the no-man’s land, the center median as they seek temporary refuge. What gives?

How does the city and state (Dillon rules; state makes the laws, not the cities) solve this continuously dangerous situation? ENACT UNDERSTANDABLE LAWS, EDUCATE EVERYONE, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, ENFORCE. As for Frogger, it was a great video game in the mid-70’s where you, as a frog, tried to cross a busy road. This game should never be attempted in real life by us or our fellow drivers and pedestrians.

Discuss

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