Photo credit: Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun
Gainesville's campaign to get drivers to yield for pedestrians is apparently showing results. Signs placed in several locations around town show that more than half of the drivers in the city now yield to pedestrians.
Yielding on Yield
from How We Drive, the Blog of Tom Vanderbilt's Traffic by Tom Vanderbilt
In New Jersey, you now have to come to a complete stop, rather than simply “yield,” when pedestrians are in the crosswalk.
New Jersey has one of the highest rates of pedestrian fatalities in the country, with 27 [FARS says 22.9 for NJ] percent of auto fatalities in 2008 involving pedestrians, almost twice the national rate [MD is "only" 19.6% :( I will note our rate per capita is 2.06 vs NJ @ 1.55], according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Must be all those jaywalking pedestrians, no? Not quite. Rather drivers, and this will surprise no readers of this blog, seemed to show a shocking disregard — or complete lack of knowledge — of the actual law.
Last year, Cherry Hill police set up crosswalk stings, in which officers, in some cases pushing baby strollers, would step out into a crosswalk as cars approached. Over six days, officers handed out 249 tickets and arrested one man who became irate when cited by police, Rann said.
“People would just drive right around the carriage,” he said. “It’s a matter of handing out more tickets. It gets the word out, and people start to comply.”
Another dispatch notes:
A potentially controversial part of the law says that if a driver hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk, the presumption of fault lies with the driver for not taking “due care” for the safety of the pedestrian.
What’s controversial to my mind in this case is presuming fault on anyone but the driver. Top half: http://www.gainesville.com/article/20100405/ARTICLES/100409725?Title=GPD-tracks-percent-of-cars-yielding-to-pedestrians
Bottom half: http://www.howwedrive.com/2010/04/05/yielding-on-yield/