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Did You Know?

Only 11 percent of Chicagoland residents ride transit to work.

We need a little clarity

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From our star volunteer John Salemi:

This week I sent e-mails to Active Trans members in my area asking them to request their local state senators to co-sponsor Illinois House (HB 43) (SB 30), Pedestrian Safety. The passing of this law is part of the Active Trans Legislative Agenda for 2009.

The current law is unclear on when exactly a driver must stop or when they can yield (or explain what actions are sufficient to constitute yielding). 

The proposed law clarifies the responsibility of a driver to stop before approaching any pedestrian who has entered the roadway at a crosswalk. The bill will make it easier for both drivers and pedestrians to know their responsibilities to ensure the safety of all road users.

So this week I became interested in Pedestrian Crosswalks while bike riding and photographed two examples of signed crosswalks.

 /The first I photographed was in downtown Arlington Heights (my hometown). It has a pedestrian operated button which illuminates flashing yellow lights on two curb signs and flashing lights embedded in the street. A message above the pushbutton, as can be read in the photo inset, is a caution to pedestrians.

The second photograph shows a crosswalk was in Park Ridge. It t had two curb signs but no pushbuttons or lights. A third sign in the middle of the roadway appeared to be very effective.

 There are more than 6,000 crashes each year in Illinois involving pedestrians. These crashes lead to more than 1,000 serious pedestrian injuries and 170 pedestrian fatalities each year.

 Requiring cars to stop would be more effective (drivers seem to respond better to stop signs) and provide more clarity. I would rather have a stopped car at the crosswalk over a car doing a rolling yield toward the crosswalk and me!