Wednesday, July 10, 2013

THE RIGHT OF WAY: CROSSWALKS

As a walker and a driver, it appears to me that the rules for crosswalks appear to confuse people.

If a person is walking across a crosswalk or showing intent to cross, I treat the crosswalk as part of the sidewalk. I always yield the right of way to the pedestrian!

There are hundreds of crosswalks in this city, many of them located in fairly high traffic areas. Some have lights, many more do not.

Perhaps I am becoming a curmudgeon but it appears to me that drivers are growing more impatient and less courteous to pedestrians all the time. Is it open season on pedestrians? Are people just too darned distracted while driving to be courteous? Do they care?

The crosswalk that concerns me most is the one located that links the Grand Concourse Trail near the Virginia River on Newfoundland Drive. Drivers seem to zoom through that particular crosswalk with no regard for those crossing the road or intending to.

Courtesy aside, what are the black and white rules on crosswalks? When must drivers stop and what if they don't?

The Province's Traffic Act is pretty clear on the rules for pedestrians and drivers:

 Pedestrian in crosswalk

   125. (1) Where traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation where a pedestrian is crossing the roadway within a crosswalk, a driver of a vehicle approaching the crosswalk in either direction shall yield the right of way to the pedestrian.

             (2)  A pedestrian shall not leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close that it is impracticable for the driver of the vehicle to yield.

             (3)  Where a vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of a vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.

1988 c33 s124

The fines for breaking the law are also clear.

 Failure to yield right-of-way to pedestrian 
in roadway or cross-walk when green or
"go" signal shown at place other than intersection

Max fine is $400, or 14 days in jail. The Minimum fine is $100 or two days in jail.


Enforcing these rules would be next to impossible but I think the police might want to consider a stronger presence near this crosswalk. If the rule breakers know that they could face a fine, perhaps they might slow down and follow the rules.

It is not like the police are not in the area setting up speed traps along the Outer Ring Road and Logy Bay Road.

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