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Click graphic to learn more about the Institute of Transportation Engineers Pedestrian & Bicycle Council

At the 2009 ITE Annual Meeting in San Antonio, the last panel of the last day focused on pedestrian safety, with a presentation by Meghan Mitman on recent crosswalk research and another by me on potential changes to the vehicle code, driver’s manual and Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) to improve driver and pedestrian comprehension of crosswalk right of way.

Research performed by Meghan with David Ragland and Charlie Zegeer in the early part of the 2000s revealed a very troubling phenomenon related to a basic understanding of who has the legal right of way at uncontrolled crosswalks. Their research focused on California, where the California Vehicle Code requires that drivers yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and defines crosswalks as an extension of a sidewalk across an intersection, regardless of whether it is marked. Their research shows that the more complex the intersection, the less comprehension there is among drivers and pedestrians about who has the legal right of way: At intersections where all legs are marked, comprehension was greatest; and at intersections where no crosswalks are marked, comprehension is the worst with nearly half of drivers not understanding that they are legally required to yield the right of way to pedestrians. Read the rest of this entry »



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