Sunday, January 20, 2008

Doesn't Anybody Stop at Crosswalks Anymore?

crosswalk.gif

We're barely halfway through the first month of 2008, and there have already been 3 pedestrian fatalities here on the Island of Oahu. Apparently, these accidents are not always the driver's fault. But, with the weather being so good here in Hawaii, we have so many people walking that our pedestrian problems get magnified.

I will tell you one thing I've noticed (both here in Hawaii, and pretty much everywhere else I've lived in the past 10 years or so), Everybody is in Such A Hurry. I know when I was younger, one thing I was taught about driving is that a person in the crosswalk has the right of way ... ie, cars should yield at a crosswalk.

Well, if you've ever tried to cross a street lately, this concept is laughable.

I've had people look right at me, and actually speed up instead of stopping. Even worse than that, when I've been in my car, and stopped at a crosswalk to let pedestrians go, I'm not kidding you, cars have tried to go around me ... in the process almost running over the poor pedestrians I was trying to be nice to.

Sometimes you just can't win for trying.

It sure would be nice if everybody would just learn to slow down. That extra couple of seconds isn't really going to make that much of a difference. Anyway, I'm rambling a bit now. My point is, next time you see somebody on the side of the road waiting to cross, show a bit of aloha and stop let them go.

Maybe if enough of us get back to setting a good example, some of the "old" driving rules will start to catch on again.

Todd

5 comments:

  1. It's been about 23 years since I last walked or drove in Honolulu, so I can't say anything about it now with any authority at all. When I was there in 1982-1984 (when not deployed on ship), I walked quite a few places to and from a place where we were taken to by bus on the weekends.

    The problem of not respecting pedestrians, I think, has turned into a nationwide problem. Your description fits what happened to me several times in the city of Phoenix. For a while, I thought that only the residents there were careless. I soon discovered, on trips to Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas and other places I don't care to remember, that there were anal orifices in each place that behaved the same way.

    Slowing down is not in their vocabulary. Luckily, though unintentionally, I live in a place now where it isn't a problem.

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  2. Hi RT,

    I agree with you, it is pretty much a nationwide problem. I just notice it more since I've been here. I remember when I lived in England as a teenager, I used to walk everywhere without much problem. Not sure if that has to do with being in a different country, or being 20 years go ... probably a bit of both. Not all countries are the same though. lol, Korea is scary to walk or drive. :)

    Talk to you again soon,
    Todd

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  3. April - Of ScotlandJanuary 25, 2008 at 9:28 AM

    I hate going to Europe where zebra crossings are much more common than in the UK. I can never quite tell what people are going to do.

    When my mum and dad were in Hawaii they didn't drive. My mum drove from the airport to the hotel and that was more than enough. They didn't drive the car again until they went back to the airport for going home.

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  4. Hi April,

    You can actually get away with that down in Waikiki. In fact, if you don't know your way around down there, driving can actually be much more of an adventure than just walking.

    :)

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  5. There is a solution to the problem of slowing motorist down and getting them to stop at uncontrolled crosswalks. LightGuard Systems, Inc. (founded in 1994) created and patented In-Roadway Warning Light (IRWL) system for pedestrian crosswalk safety over fourteen years ago. Our mission is to reduce needless injury and death caused by driver inattention or limited visibility situations.

    They are virtually invisible by an approaching motorist when not activated. When a pedestrian activates the devices, either manually or by automatic detection, they are aimed towards the approaching motorist, the flashing amber lights capture the motorist’s attention, greatly improving the chances for a safe crossing for the pedestrian. Once the pedestrian has crossed, the devices visually disappear into the street upon a timed deactivation.

    The first independent formal evaluation of IRWL systems was completed in 1995 by a transportation consulting firm. They concluded that in fact motorists became more aware of pedestrians and gave them the right of way as a result.

    To date, there have been over 30 independent studies conducted in many different locations throughout the country. Every single study reaches the same conclusion – these systems lead to a significant reduction of conflict between motorist and pedestrian resulting in safer crossings.

    After many years of nationwide testing and National Committee review, the adoption of In-Road Way Warning Lights as a standard traffic control measure was incorporated into the Federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, Section 4L. This manual is considered the “Bible” for traffic engineers around the country. To date there are nearly 2,000 of these IRWL crosswalk systems installed in cities around the country in every type of climate.

    There are citizen groups such as Citizens for Moraga Safety (www.moragasafety.org.)who are very active in their city to promote safer crosswalks.

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