On crosswalks, research and safety campaigns conflict

A crosswalk does not necessarily make it safe to cross a street.  This is not news or new science.   But that hasn’t stopped developers and city councils to continue to target pedestrians with stricter enforcement, and to blame them in crashes.

“The MUTCD bases this provision on studies of crash data.  Pedestrians crossing big highways, these studies report, have a greater chance of being hit by drivers at marked crosswalks than at similar unmarked ones.

There are several possible reasons for this.

  • Traffic engineers often locate marked crosswalks at the places where they interfere least with vehicle movement. Pedestrians may put a higher priority on safety when choosing where to cross.
  • Politicians may demand crosswalk markings at the intersections with repeated crashes, meaning the crashes are not a consequence of the marked crosswalk but the cause.
  • Researchers have other suggestions, too, as Tom Vanderbilt discusses on page 198 of his book Traffic.”

“Most of the general public believes that marking those crosswalks makes them safer to use.  But the Federal Highway Administration disagrees.  Sometimes, at least.”

“The MUTCD bases this provision on studies of crash data.  Pedestrians crossing big highways, these studies report, have a greater chance of being hit by drivers at marked crosswalks than at similar unmarked ones.”

Read more…

https://ggwash.org/view/30378/on-crosswalks-research-and-safety-campaigns-conflict

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