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Next time you are in a crosswalk take caution!

Posted by David Nemeroff | Nov 29, 2011 | 0 Comments

Stop at a crosswalk to yield for a pedestrian? Yes, that's what Chicago drivers are required to do under the pedestrian law. Drivers are required to stop at crosswalks even when there are no traffic control devices or stop signs.

Pedestrians have the right of way when they are crossing the street at an intersection. Despite this law pedestrians and bicycle riders even when crossing at a designated crosswalk as instructed are being hit by motor vehicles and injured. Many motorists are busy while driving and fail to look for pedestrians or bikers. They usually look for approaching car traffic. When this occurs, that's when, crosswalk accidents occur and can lead to injuries. These injuries can be serious or fatal.

Results from a recent study concluded that 80 percent of vehicle-pedestrian crashes in Chicago happen at intersections. The majority of these accidents involve pedestrians crossing the street with the green walk signal. What is happening on the streets of Chicago?

This is an alarmingly high statistic for pedestrians being hit at crosswalks. They are predominantly being hit by turning vehicles. Many pedestrians assume that they are in a safe haven of crosswalks. This result surprised researchers. Results from this Chicago based study concluded that over 75 percent of all accidents and over 80 percent of fatal and serious accidents crashes occurred within 120 feet of the midpoint of an intersection crosswalk or nearby. The No. 1 cause of pedestrian accidents in the US was drivers failing to yield to pedestrian in a crosswalk. This study results were published in the Chicago Tribune and was the city's most detailed analysis of crashes to date. The study revealed that the number of hit-and-run accidents increased over a five-year period. There were 17,487 crashes all involving pedestrians. In Chicago motor vehicle-pedestrian crashes are at a rate of approximately 3,000 a year. The statistic that caught my eye was that approximately two hit-and-run pedestrian accidents result in death daily in Chicago. Hit-and-runs account for 33 percent of vehicle-pedestrian collisions. Alarmingly, 41 percent of those hit and run accidents are fatal. That is double the national average for fatal hit and run accidents.

As a Chicago injury lawyer, some of the statistics were alarming. The study statistics revealed that Chicago had 5,534 hit-and-runs over the five-year period. These accidents resulted in 3,683 deaths and injuries. Taxi or cab drivers were involved in 28 percent of pedestrian crashes. Over 34 percent of pedestrian accidents occur in downtown Chicago. A 2010 state law requires drivers to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. The previous law required drivers to yield and stop when necessary for pedestrian traffic. Illinois become the 12th state in the country, to enforce a law requiring a complete stop at pedestrian crosswalks. These are crosswalks that do not have traffic control devices or stop signs.

Source: City study: Chicago pedestrians in crosswalks

About the Author

David Nemeroff

In January 2012, David Nemeroff was voted one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the entire state of Illinois (out of 83,000 lawyers) by Super Lawyers Magazine...

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