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About every seven minutes, a pedestrian is injured and one is killed every two hours. Pedestrians are the most vulnerable individuals on the road, and it’s up to both pedestrians and drivers to help walkers on the road stay safe.
Pedestrian scrambles crosswalks have been implemented in several large cities across the U.S. and globally where there are high volumes of pedestrians. Also known as X-crossings, diagonal crossing, or a Barnes dance, these intersections allow pedestrians to cross the intersection in every direction possible, even diagonally.
What is a Pedestrian Scramble Crosswalk?
For those who are unfamiliar with what this is, a pedestrian scramble crosswalk is an intersection that stops all vehicular traffic, including bikes during an “all red” rotation of traffic lights. This kind of intersection allows pedestrians to safely cross in all directions, even diagonally, without the interference of turning cars. In theory, this will protect pedestrians from inattentive drivers who don’t see the pedestrian in the crosswalk.
Scramble pedestrian crosswalks can be seen in two circumstances:
Pedestrian- Heavy Area: Areas with a heavy flow of pedestrian traffic and unavoidable car traffic benefit from having a pedestrian scramble crosswalk. Areas that have a lot of traffic may witness times in which someone may seize a break in traffic to dart through and put their lives and others at risk. With pedestrian scrambles, these dangerous interactions can be completely avoided, decreasing uncertainty and danger.
The Stroad: There may be intersections in which there is no way to avoid the presence of a busy, fast-moving street in an urban area, especially during rush hour. In a typical intersection, if you are a pedestrian you are waiting to get the Walk sign to pop up, and as you cross the intersection, you are still having to look out for vehicles as they attempt to dart through breaks in traffic. In addition, if you are someone that is trying to get to the diagonal corner of the intersection, you have to wait for the next cycle and do it all over.
In both of these scenarios, it simply makes sense to have a pedestrian scramble intersection. All you would need to do is push the Walk button and enjoy a nice stroll directly to the corner that you are trying to get to without the worry of any vehicles crossing the intersection at the same time.
How Does a Pedestrian Scramble Crosswalk Benefit the Flow of Traffic?
VisionZero LA, an initiative that aims to end traffic-related death by 2035 is attempting to complete this goal by installing scramble crosswalks around the city. It may seem obvious that a scrabble crosswalk may be the best option to keep pedestrians safe since all vehicle traffic is completely stopped for pedestrians to cross. In fact, statistical data shows that the installation of scramble crosswalks is actually decreasing the number of traffic-related injuries.
One of the main examples is an intersection in LA, in which it was found to have averaged 13 crashes per year, but after the addition of the scramble intersection in November 2015, there have been zero crashes, which is a significant and promising improvement.
What are Some of the Concerns With Pedestrian Scramble Intersections?
Just last year, there were close to 5,000 crashes involving pedestrians were reported. The government agency reports that over 1,000 crashes resulted in serious injuries and over 700 deaths. Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users, simply because they lack the equipment to keep them safe, such as airbags, bumpers, and seatbelts.
Although scramble pedestrian crosswalks have been implemented in several large cities across the nation and globally, there are still some concerns when it comes to pedestrian scramble intersections. The first concern is the accessibility that pedestrian scramble crosswalks have towards individuals with impaired vision or blind. There are currently no measures in place that require the implementation of accessibility features for scramble crosswalks.
Another concern is when a driver may disobey signals due to significantly increased waiting time. In addition, if the wait is long as well, pedestrians may disobey the traffic laws and cross without a signal. Another challenge that may arise in a pedestrian scramble crosswalk is eliminating the ability to synchronize timing with adjacent traffic signals if they don’t have an all-way crosswalk, which may lead to traffic congestions and delays.
However, something to note is that these types of accidents can happen anywhere, no matter the intersection. Cars turning at intersections remain a leading cause of collisions with pedestrians and cyclists, which may result in serious injuries and even death. However, studies have shown that scramble intersections can cut vehicle-pedestrian collision rates in half.
How to Navigate a Pedestrian Scramble Crosswalk?
If used correctly, scramble intersections can make busy intersections much safer for pedestrians. Since no vehicles are permitted while the walk signal is active, pedestrians don’t have to worry about vehicles trying to pass through the intersection at the same time. If the traffic light is green, the crosswalk will not activate the walk signal. Therefore, in order to use a pedestrian scramble crosswalk safely, never try to cross an intersection when the walk signal is not active and wait until all oncoming traffic is stopped from all directions before proceeding through the crosswalk.
If you are a cyclist, you must dismount your bike and walk through the crosswalk with it. If you don’t dismount your bike, you are considered a vehicle and must follow all vehicle traffic laws and stop when the walk signal is displayed.
If you are a driver, all you need to make sure is to only turn right or left when you have a green light and wait while pedestrians are moving. Other tips to ensure the safety of yourself and pedestrians you are sharing the road with can be found here.
How can The Carlson Law Firm?
If you or someone you love has been injured as a pedestrian, contact our office today. The Carlson Law Firm has 45 years of experience helping those who have been victims of another’s negligence. We are available 24 hours a day seven days a week. We care and we can help.