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Posted on Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Ann Arbor ranked safest in state for pedestrians; city wants to keep it that way

By Cindy Heflin


Pedestrians walk down one side of Fifth Avenue near Ann Arbor's new underground parking structure while a bicyclist uses a bike lane on the other side Thursday afternoon.

Joe Tobianski |

Despite the recent furor regarding pedestrian safety in Ann Arbor and the crosswalk ordinance that drivers love to hate, statistics show the city is the safest metro area for pedestrians in Michigan.

A 2009 report by the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership and Transportation for America ranked Ann Arbor first in pedestrian safety among 15 metro areas in the state in a 2009 report. The groups developed a pedestrian safety index based on the average number of pedestrian fatalities by the percentage of people walking to work.

Ann Arbor scored a 7.8 on the index. (Lower numbers are better.) Bay City was rated the next safest, with a score of 28.2. Flint came out worst with a score of 168.9.

The number of vehicle-bike crashes over the past five years ranged from 34 in 2007 to 63 in 2009. The number of vehicle-pedestrian accidents in the city over the same five-year period ranged from a low of 43 in 2009 to a high of 63 in 2011.

The city’s safe ranking is a testament to its efforts to make roads and sidewalks safe for all users, said Eli Cooper, the city’s transportation manager. Those efforts include the painting of bike lines throughout much of the downtown and the installation of flashing crosswalk beacons and special pedestrian crossing lights known as HAWK signals.

The pedestrian safety ordinance, which originally required drivers to stop for pedestrians approaching a crosswalk and has since been modified, was passed in 2010 but not enforced until last fall. It sparked an outcry from drivers and was blamed for several rear-end crashes.


A pedestrian-activated and solar-powered flashing beacon alerts drivers to stop at the crosswalk at Seventh and Washington streets in Ann Arbor

Ryan J. Stanton |

The numbers about pedestrian safety are interesting to note as the city welcomes thousands of University of Michigan students back to town and prepares to host the first U-M home football game of the season. This week, the city urged residents to exercise some common sense and common courtesy to keep the streets and sidewalks safe for all.

For pedestrians, that means use designated crosswalks and be sure to give drivers enough time to see you and stop. At night, wear light-colored clothing to be more visible.

For bikers, that means follow the rules of the road and use bike lanes whenever possible. Bikers must obey all traffic signals. If they use sidewalks, bikers must yield to pedestrians, the city says. In Ann Arbor, they’re also required to use front headlights and rear reflectors after dark. The city’s advice also includes the most obvious bike safety rule of all: Wear a helmet.

For drivers, that means stop for red lights and slow down for yellow ones. Be alert for pedestrians and stop for those crossing or about to cross streets.

Also, drivers need to share the road, the city emphasized. “Bicyclists are legally entitled to ride in the road whether a bike lane exists or not,” the city said in a news release. Drivers should pass cyclists carefully, providing 3 to 4 feet of space between the motorist’s vehicle and the biker, the city advised.

Above, all, don’t text and drive. It’s illegal in Michigan.

Cooper says he sees plenty of distracted drivers around the city. Those include people talking on phones and even those trying to find their way with GPS devices.

But Cooper said the prize for the most unsafe behavior he sees around town goes to bikers. He often sees them riding the wrong way on city streets. That’s never safe, even in a bike lane, he said.

You can find the city’s safety tips and other information about walking, biking and driving in Ann Arbor on the city’s website and subscribe to online notices of road and lane closures.



Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 12:07 a.m.

The biker pictured is riding far left in the bike lane, vehicles would have to take about two feet of the oncoming lane to allow a 3-4 foot clearance when passing this biker who has plenty of room to his right. Is it common for bikers to test the limits like this rather use the safest part of the bike lane? Also, the population of Ann Arbor has been relatively consitant for decades. How many bike/pedestrian accidents were there in the 80's before cells, and the 90's before texting? Still seems like an awful lot of accidents. Seems drivers are out to get bikers and pedestrians to me.

Vivienne Armentrout

Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 9:19 p.m.

I voted for "drivers" after reflecting on a couple of recent experiences. There are many drivers on our roads who are in a terrific hurry. I don't know how many times I've had someone tailgate me as I drive at or just under the speed limit, then roar around me in order to get to the same red light that I do. A recent behavior that I've experienced a lot is getting beeped at because I haven't turned right on red at an intersection. I got one beep because I didn't turn into the oncoming traffic doing a left turn from Madison onto Main. Then the light turned green and a pedestrian began to cross with the walk light. I didn't care to run him down. This got me an even louder beep. I finally turned right onto Main and the aggrieved driver roared past me, just in time to stop at the red light at Hill. Calm down, people. Leave a little earlier if you are really always that late.

Patricia Lesko

Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 3:25 p.m.

1,570 Ann Arbor residents commute to work by bike, according to data gathered by the National Bike League. After having spent over $5 million dollars on alternative transportation since 2003, in addition to the approximately $1.5-$2 million dollars spent on planning and installing the bike lanes while resurfacing streets, only about 50 more people commute by bike in Ann Arbor. However, they commute in relative safety. In Boulder 6,570 people commute on bike. In 2011, Ann Arbor had 59 crashes between bikes and cars and Boulder had 519. In Boulder, 1 in 12 bike commuters was involved in a bike-car crash. In Ann Arbor, 1 in 27 bike commuters was. Our family bikes and uses AATA to get downtown. Our sons bike to school. I work with them CONTINUALLY on the rules of riding in the bike lanes (in traffic) and on the shared use paths. I stress that safe biking (and walking) is not about being right. It's about being respectful and sharing space. Cars always have the right-of-way, even when the driver is breaking the law. My eldest son learned this when a car cut him off in the crosswalk and a nearby police officer ticketed the driver. That being said, drivers in Ann Arbor are generous and, in my experience, polite and careful. When biking I use a bell, and wave, whistle or yell to get the attention of a driver otherwise occupied. As I tell my sons, no driver wants to hit a pedestrian or bicyclist. It up to all of us to make sure that doesn't happen. Politicos and city staffers who want millions to spend on alternative transportation need to do a much better job educating pedestrians, drivers and cyclists (perhaps a partnership with AAPS and U of M). City Council members need demand that road, bike lane and sidewalk maintenance be made a priority in all Capital Improvement Plans. These accidents aren't about statistics; they're about people.


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

As a frequent pedestrian, I'm a fan of the crosswalk ordinance. When I do use crosswalks without signals, I wait for all traffic to stop before entering. This is common sense, and the ordinance shouldn't be faulted for people who do otherwise. As a frequent bike commuter, I use bike lanes when available, stay to the right when not, and on roads like Jackson Ave, use the sidewalk. Like other's who've commented, I've been yelled at by drivers in all scenarios, always because they had to wait for me to pass before making a turn, or maybe slowed them down while they waited to pass me on a downtown street. For probably 75% of my close calls (which occur nearly every ride) the driver is completely oblivious to the fact they they nearly hit me, as they weren't paying attention in the first place. All of that said.. I do own a car, and realize I've probably had the same close calls with bicyclists due to my own fault that I haven't been aware of. I've also noticed, however, that since I've moved to Ann Arbor and have started biking and walking much more frequently, my driving habits have changed dramatically, and I'm now much more aware of pedestrians and bicyclists. I was just in Amsterdam and saw so many situations where I thought a bicyclist was going to get creamed, but the driver stopped and patiently waited. When I mentioned this to a local, he mentioned that almost everyone is a bicyclist to some extent, so when driving it's instinctual to be patient and respectful of bicyclists. As a car-happy society, I think we've forgotten what it's like to be on the other side of the steering wheel. So... next time you find yourself slowing down to share the road, try to remember the kid in you who used to bike to the comic shop or your friend's house, and do your best to not get annoyed. Oh... and please oh please try to stop at or behind stop signs, not 10 feet past them.


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 11:23 a.m.

Yesterday, I approached a crosswalk, stopped, looked both ways, and noticed that a car was approaching. I did not exercise my "right of way". Instead, I simply waited for the little old lady to drive past me, then I crossed safely... just like I learned to do when i was 5. I find it is better to assess my own safety when crossing streets... whether a law exist or not.


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 11:08 a.m.

Maybe if we started TICKETING EVERYONE that violates the law; cars, bikes, & pedestrians, the populace MIGHT get the hint. Anyway, that is money coming in to the city. Wow, maybe that could help fund essential services like police, fire, human services..........We tried that once I think and the bicyclist that got the ticket for going through red light was not amused. Haven't seen any news articles on that since then.


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 10:27 a.m.

What is the status of the latest victim of AA's "magical-thinking" street-crossing laws? Hopefully she's recovered.


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 5:44 p.m.

Legislation by wishful thinking is especially bad when it's applied to the interaction of 3000lb moving objects and fleshy human objects.


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 5:16 a.m.

Someone may have already mentioned this, but it's tragically hilarious that this picture was used; in all of Ann Arbor, that's aboput the LEAST safe you can be if you are in motion, be it on a bike or in a motor vehicle. All readers who don't recognize this spot should drive by it. Remember that you spent 56 or so million dollars on it. And that it was like 2 years over schedule. Oh, and be CAREFUL!!


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 4:38 a.m.

I've solicited accounts from people who've traveled extensively in Europe and Japan - the overall impression these people had was that whether on foot, riding a bicycle or driving a car: people in these other countries UNDERSTOOD COOPERATION far better than Americans. Adding my own observation: some of these bad behaviors are because of self image and worldview. When someone makes it a point to establish their "ego rights" -- trouble usually ensues. I'd suggest that categorizing by mode of transport does little good. People behave well or badly according to their "mood" or understanding of what "cooperation" means at any given time, in any given circumstance. The other thing I notice is that people can be overly casual when it comes to thinking through the consequences of their actions. Does the person engaging in cell phone talk while in the grocery express line think through their actions? The same of course applies to engaging in cell phone use while walking, driving or cycling. But you can see people doing this every single day in Ann Arbor. Perhaps the better campaign would be one dedicated to making Ann Arbor the most thoughtful and cooperative town in America.


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 2:52 a.m.

My laugh for the day!


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 2:37 a.m.

Downtown is not safe for pedestrians even at intersections with traffic lights. One guy in my senior complex was hit at 5th and Liberty. The female driver was talking on a cell phone and knocked him and his wheelchair to the pavement. She didn't stop, just kept talking and driving. Another woman in the building was hit at Huron and 4th. Driver was making a left turn and only looking at on-coming cars, not at pedestrians in the crosswalk. That accident cost several months in the hospital! I was nearly hit by an AATA bus stopped on Catherine and 5th. The driver was looking left at the on-coming cars on 5th, not at me as I started across the intersection. Another close call, was a driver on Liberty turning left onto State going north. Missed me by a couple of inches. Drivers don't care about pedestrians because the driver won't get hurt in a collision, just the pedestrian. Probably most drivers are careful most of the time, but I don't want to pay with my life for the few who are not careful.

Ron Granger

Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 1:20 p.m.

Was it ever reported what penalty the woman faced for hitting the man in the wheelchair?


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 4:54 a.m.

I agree: recently had a young driver purposely take his foot off the brake BECAUSE I was legally crossing in front of his pickup truck. He turned to his passenger and laughed over my obvious fright. If I had been hit - he would have probably gotten off with some minor ticket while I might have been seriously injured. Very unfunny - and this kind of attitude has got to be stopped.


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 1:26 a.m.

Some notes on that study. 34 MSAs had a better PDI score than the Ann Arbor MSA. MSAs are bigger than the city named - Ann Arbor's MSA is listed as 347,376, so it's probably the whole County. Most of the MSAs that had a better score had no pedestrian fatalities - 21 of them. Where the Ann Arbor MSA did really well is a very high percentage of work commutes by walking (7.4%). Only 8 MSAs in the nation had a higher percentage of people walking to work. Note that that *doesn't* count students walking to classes, or people walking to go shopping, or people doing something else for part of the trip and walking the rest of the way. The last data I saw didn't include people living in group housing (dorms) either, even if they *were* walking to work. It's also pretty unlikely that most of those walking trips are outside the cities/villages, and it's probably mostly in Ann Arbor itself. I know I've seen numbers from an older (1990?) census that said 18% of commute trips in Ann Arbor itself were walking. Again, not counting students, university or otherwise, walking to classes.


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 1:03 a.m.

California - Driver must yield - Pedestrian has duty of using due care for his or her safety. No pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. No pedestrian may unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while in a marked or unmarked crosswalk. Forida - Driver must yield if able - Pedestrian shall not suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path or a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield. New York - Driver must yield - Pedestrian should not suddenly leave from the curb, or any other safe place, and walk or run directly into the path of a vehicle. Applies if "impractical" for the driver to safely yield the right of way to the pedestrian. Ann Arbor - Driver must yield - Pedestrian is magically protected by the Bubble Palace wand. But should have a lawyer on retainer and a very good insurance policy in hand - just in case the art stick is not working that day. So, please Ms. Heflin et al, how about the stats for THIS year and updated condition of all crosswalk victim(s) ?


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 2:54 a.m.

So at what point is it "safe" for the pedestrian to enter the crosswalk if a driver doesn't see them and keeps going? The answer is Never in California, Florida, or New York. Magically safe in Ann Arbor because the driver must also yield to a curb-standing pedestrian allowing him/her to enter the crosswalk where the driver must then also yield just like all of the other states. The pedestrian has to stay out of the crosswalk until it is "possible" for a vehicle to yield yet the driver in Ann Arbor is legally expected to yield BEFORE the pedestrian steps into the crosswalk. making it perfectly safe at any time - unlike the grave importance that the caution holds in the other states. Extending the road and crosswalk onto the sidewalk was where the City bubbleheads failed to uphold their prudent governance. It is time for them to epeal the ordinance.


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 1:32 a.m.

Ann Arbor 10:148 (b): "A pedestrian shall not suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into a path of a vehicle that is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield."

Matt Sussman

Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 12:41 a.m.

The geese. They just cross wherever they want.


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 12:28 a.m.

Yes by encouraging people to cross any street at any point they feel not just at the designated cross walks. Just sayin'

Katherine Griswold

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 11:28 p.m.

Ann Arbor has professional traffic engineers on staff. needs to interview one of them rather than continue to repeat this propaganda. We cannot rewrite traffic laws (local ordinance) to address perceived inequities between pedestrians, cyclist, and drivers. Traffic engineering is based on the laws of physics not social policy. We can improve safety at crosswalks with better lighting, sight distance, location, signage, signals, etc. -- just ask a traffic engineer. It will be more expensive than the "Pedestrians Rule" bookmarks the city printed for this "campaign," but our children deserve safe crosswalks.


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 11:23 p.m.

I find this remarkable, because I have had to slam on my brakes more often these days because people just walk right out in front of my car. Sure wished we would go back to stop, look and listen before crossing the street instead of "you'll stop for me because I'm walking on across". It is sad.


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 10:21 p.m.

That photo at the top of the article shows the "widowmaker" bike lane next to the Garage Mahal ramp on 5th Ave. If a car doesn't squash you against the wall and one of the lights sticking out doesn't manage to get you, there's still a blind merge of cars exiting the federal building right after that. What group of engineers thought that was a good design?


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 12:43 a.m.

That ain't all. Before William St. the bike lane narrows to less than the required 5'-0" width, with badly parked vehicles encroaching on even that. Thanks DDA, thanks Streets/Engineering. Ending the traffic lane (ala bike lanes elsewhere) is deserved.


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 10:11 p.m.

A2 forced homeowners to repair all the sidewalks in the city. Then they implemented a millage to pay for repairs of the sidewalks that had all just been repaired! What a scam!!!

Reverend Bubba X

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 9:55 p.m.

The 2009 report is based on data from 2007 and 2008. (Read Appendix A for the methodology.) Not only does the report not reflect the situation under the current Ann Arbor pedestrian law, it indicates that the current law was not needed. Ann Arbor was the safest city for pedestrians in Michigan in 2007 & 2008, well before the law was changed. Now Ann arbor has a law that actully encourages pedestrians to step in front of moving vehicles. Hardly a safety improvement. Ann Arbor now has 3 different pedestrian crossing signals: standard walk/don't walk signals, HAWK signals, and the blinking lights on Plymouth Road. The lack of consistency can only detract from pedestrian safety. Many pedestrians crossing Plymouth Road don't even press the buttons to activate the blinking lights, they just walk out in front of moving traffic. Add to this the lack of consistency with the pedestrian crossing laws in the rest of the state. I've seen pedestrians step into moving traffic on Washtenaw Ave. at Golfside, obviously bewildered as to why the vehicles weren't stopping. Perhaps they didn't realize that the Ann Arbor crossing law only applies inside Ann Arbor city limits. Another factor: all the students from other countries being encouraged to, yes, step out in front of traffic. A message they might regret outside of Ann Arbor. In the occupational health & safety field, safety performance is managed on a proactive (i.e., effective) basis by tracking near-misses, not just actual accidents. I've seen zero consideration for tracking these leading indicators from city council or the Mayor. But I have seen many close calls!


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 1:58 a.m.

That's just crazy talk right there mister. Don't bring logic into this, especially in the smartest city in the country.

Jack Campbell

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 9:52 p.m.

Bikes don't belong on roads unless they are side streets. Get a car if you want to be on a 35+ mph road and stop holding up traffic. All the hipsters and their "I can bike anywhere I want" mentality is beyond annoying.


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 1:54 a.m.

jc: What a hoot it would be to find you afoot or pedaling instead of sneering at legitimate road users. Please wear a sign when it happens.


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 10:58 p.m.



Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 10:57 p.m.

Yeah, I love when they serve into your lane to avoid potholes and weave through stopped traffic to get to the front of the line.


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 9:50 p.m.

Propaganda from the bubble palace. Knowingly endangering human lives, however, is negligence if not an apriori crime against humanity. Bragging about it as being the most secure - now that is just plain psychotic.


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 9:34 p.m.

That is a lame poll ! There are about 1,000 drivers for every pedestrian and cyclist. The results are predictable.

Reverend Bubba X

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 9:56 p.m.

ALL internet polls are "lame."


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

If Ann Arbor streets are safe for walkers, why doesn't the Mayor and a few reporters try crossing Plymouth road a few times on Saturday between 1pm and 3:00pm. You have a lot of out of towner's driving to a football game!


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 9:04 p.m.

ok if you want to keep it. better install blinking lights at the crosswalks on stadium. just saw another one almost get hit. car on the left stopped car on the right went right on through.


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 11:11 p.m.

the lights like they have on Plymouth road. they cost i think not sure around 10k. at least it will flash and give the person a chance to live longer when crossing. stadium is a busy area to try crossing.


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 9:41 p.m.

Oh, $$80k hawk lights will surly stop that behavior!, as if!


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 8:46 p.m.

Yeah, I love having a green light while having to slam on my brakes for someone jaywalking against the light! I even have watched people walk out in front of my truck without looking! These "ped friendly" laws have created a dangerous environment, as Atticus F. said. Pedestrians just assume a vehicle will and (more importantly) can stop for them. I do not see this "attitude" in any other city in the United States.

John of Saline

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 10:08 p.m.

My dad was always shocked when he saw the pedestrian behavior. He mentioned that, if they tried that in Detroit, they'd get run over.

Ron Granger

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 9:48 p.m.

It isn't ped friendly laws, they've done that for decades. People do it in other cities too. Shocking, I know.


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 8:41 p.m.

I bet the guy that was crossing ( with lights flashing) on Plymouth rd and almost got creamed by two cars wouldn't agree.

Ghost of Tom Joad

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

none of this nonsense would be necessary if kids just went to "safety town" classes like they used to.

Susan Montgomery

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 8:51 p.m.

Ummm.. Safety town still exists...


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 8:19 p.m.

To say that Ann Arbor is the safest city in Michigan is like saying a hand grenade is safer than a smart bomb. I find myself watching my rear view mirror very closely when I get near a pedestrian cross walk. I don't trust the guy behind me any more than I trust a car to stop when I am standing at the curb.


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 8:05 p.m.

I've never seen any group of people in my life that has more trouble navigating fairly low traffic, small city streets than the posters on


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 8:16 p.m.

And how many groups have you seen?


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 8:02 p.m.

The interesting question is whether the data will show a trend for the better or worse following the crosswalk ordinance implementation. I've been hit by bicyclists twice in Ann Arbor: once, standing at a corner curb, when the cyclist didn't look before knocking me over, and a second time while stopped at a driveway curb, when the cyclist on the sidewalk simply ran into the side of my car. I'm a cyclist, too, but I can't say that I think Ann Arbor is an especially safe place for cyclists.

Ron Granger

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 9:46 p.m.

"and a second time while stopped at a driveway curb, when the cyclist on the sidewalk simply ran into the side of my car." You say you blocked the sidewalk with your car. The pedestrian or bicycle traffic on the sidewalk had the right of way.


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 8 p.m.

This data does not jive with my opinions of safety in Ann Arbor, therefor I reject it entirely.


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 10:36 p.m.

I like you Steve. You have a sense of humor...obviously lacking with some others on here...


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

"The data does not jive with my opinions, there I reject it entirely" You must be on the 2012 Republican Ticket!


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

You could at least get the laws right. Pedestrians can cross outside of crosswalks outside of downtown if there aren't crosswalks nearby, but they have to yield to road traffic and have to cross perpendicular to the roadway. Bicyclists don't have to use bike lanes or use roads with bike lanes. They have to keep to the right-hand side of the roadway except when one of the numerous exceptions of MCL 257.660a applies. For example, I was just in the left-most through lane of Plymouth at Green, stopped at a light, on my bicycle, and it was perfectly legal. Why? Because I was preparing to make a left turn. Perfectly legal. And you left out two of the most important laws for motorists, which the majority of motorists routinely break - no traveling over the posted speed limit and maintain a safe following distance. Heck, they mostly don't stop behind stoplines or yield to emergency vehicles either. And then there were the half dozen motorists who ignored the flashing lights and the woman trying to cross in the crosswalk on Plymouth an hour or so ago. My prediction is that your poll will find cyclists and pedestrians get the most votes. Surprise, surprise, the majority wants to find fault with someone else. You might as well have worded your poll "Ignoring speeding and tailgating, who exhibits the worst behavior?"


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 7:57 p.m.

Ann Arbor should 1) Abolish its ordinance about pedestrians approaching the sidewalk since all it does is cause more accidents. BTW, all the hawklights do is promote congestion as it gives each pedestrian instant right of way instead of queuing them up for an optimal crossing time timed with nearby traffic lights. 2) Adopt an ordinance to make it illegal to ride bikes in crosswalks and sidewalks on non-residential streets. 3) Start ticketing bicyclists for going the wrong way on roads and ignoring stop signs.


Mon, Sep 10, 2012 : 1:06 p.m.

"approaching" or "at curb" is the same thing in my book. Ann Arbor somehow thinks it knows better than State research and law, which requires yielding when peds are *IN* the crosswalk, not at the perimeter of a crosswalk. It makes it very unsafe when Peds (and bikers who think they are peds) enter the crosswalk just assuming that motorists will stop for them. Traffic lights have yellow lights which is a warning to stop if you can. There is no equivalent for crosswalks now. When its dark or raining you cannot see peds that are at the curb of a crosswalk, and before the A2 law, no ped in their right mind would step out in front of a car assuming they would just stop.


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 1:35 a.m.

Where have you been? The pedestrian "approaching" language was removed. It now states that drivers must "yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian stopped at the curb, curb line or ramp leading to a crosswalk and to every pedestrian within a crosswalk....".

John of Saline

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 10:06 p.m.

aabikes, motorcyclists act like vehicles FAR more than bikes, in my experience. Bikes ignore stop signs and red lights so often that I'm shocked when one obeys.


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

Ann Arbor should 4) ticket speeding drivers and drivers who ignore stop signs. Oh, and it's not just bicyclists, when's the last time you saw a motorcycle actually stop at a stop sign?


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 7:55 p.m.

Here is a link to the 2009 study, for anybody who's interested:

Ghost of Tom Joad

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 7:54 p.m.

If there is such a thing as a bipartisan issue in this town, the ridiculousness of our traffic laws is it.


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 7:53 p.m.

People still don't get how to handle the HAWK signal on Huron near the Y. It's so easy: YELLOW: Slow down and prepare to stop (just like a normal yellow). RED: Stop (just like a normal red). FLASHING RED: Stop, proceed when safe to do so (just like a normal flashing red). NO LIGHT: GO! (pretty please?)


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 7:47 p.m.

I checked both of the listed agencies couldn't find any report or survey. Saw alot of donation information and other irrelevant information. How much did Ann Arbor pay to be in their survey?


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 1 p.m.

Thank you Cindy

Cindy Heflin

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 8:52 p.m.

I've also included a link in the article that will download the report when you click on it.


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 7:56 p.m.

How long did you search for? I found it on my first search, 2nd result.


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

There needs to be an "all of the above" option on your poll. That crosswalk ordinance is a load of horse manure


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 7:40 p.m.

As @justcurious pointed out, the "safest" period was in 2009 which predates both the confused pedestrian ordinance and the HAWK lights. And which recent period was the most dangerous for pedestrians here? 2011, which I believe is when the HAWKs were deployed and the poorly conceived ordinance went into effect. So yes, that does amount to some kind of "testament" to the city's efforts.


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 9:38 p.m.

Are we to pay for $80k "hawk lights" every 500 feet? Why drive when peds rule? That is the thinking of the powers in AA (IMHO)

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 7:40 p.m.

From this morning's trip to work, here is a question perhaps someone with a greater knowledge of the local laws than I, can answer: A pedestrian is stopped at a corner near a crosswalk that crosses a one way street and has a red DO NOT CROSS sign. A car is stopped and signaling that it intends to make a right turn on red when the traffic clears. The traffic clears and the car begins to make its turn. The pedestrian steps into the crosswalk and blocks the car making the right turn on red (the pedestrian crossing signal is still red), crossing the street in the crosswalk. In this scenario in our town, who has the right of way? Also, amazingly this morning I also saw a man bicycling with an infant in a sling on his chest take a left turn on red from the left turning lane at Huron and Main, except he didn't turn left onto Main, but the sidewalk along Main. I was thinking at the time, just Wow.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 4:31 p.m.

Thanks everyone for the great input and replies!


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 3:13 p.m.

Scenario 1 - assuming the light hasn't changed, the motorist has right-of-way, and pedestrian just broke the law. Scenario 2 - did the cyclist turn onto the sidewalk on the near side of the intersection, or the far side of the intersection? I suspect it makes a huge difference. If he crossed the intersection first, he pretty clearly broke the law. If he turned left onto the sidewalk on the near side of the intersection, that was probably legal. How could that be? Because he was essentially turning left into a curb cut he could legally use. He happened to be stopped at a light waiting for the traffic to clear. That's the way he should argue it, if it went to court. Just because it looks strange to you as a motorist, that doesn't mean you should assume there was something wrong. Motorists can't turn onto sidewalks, so it looks strange. What should the laws be for people turning into crosswalks and onto sidewalks?

Richard Carter

Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

@drewk: sort of. The pedestrian may be in the wrong doing something illegal, but you still must stop if you can. Essentially it's a "just because they're doing something illegal, it doesn't mean you have the absolute right to run them over" law.


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 12:43 p.m.

By law the pedestrian always has the right of way no matter if it is an illegal maneuver or not. I totally disagree with the law and will remind them that a large vehicle will do great damage to a human body.

Dog Guy

Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 12:22 a.m.

The auto always has the right of weight.

Ron Granger

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 9:42 p.m.

Most all cars weigh close to 4000 pounds. Few weigh less then 3000.


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 8:09 p.m.

The car has the right of way. When there's a pedestrian signal, the pedestrian is supposed to obey it. That said, the driver of the car (in charge of 2,000 pound machine) should always drive with the knowledge and responsibility that they can easily kill / maim a pedestrian (not the other way around) and drive graciously. And the recently revised crosswalk regulation has nothing to do with it. That's about non-signalized crosswalks.


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 7:50 p.m.

The car has the right of way in that scenario however if the driver wants to let the pedestrian go first that would be the kindly thing to do.

Jim Walker

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 7:39 p.m.

And, again, Ann Arbor's pedestrian ordinance is NOT in compliance with the Uniform Traffic Code which the city adopted in 2010, along with the entire Motor Vehicle Code. Having city ordinances and traffic engineering practices in conflict with the Uniform Traffic Code and the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code is improper and does not enhance safety. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, Ann Arbor, MI


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 8:03 p.m.

I like it. We should apply this lowest common denominator approach to all policy.


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 7:38 p.m.

What an irrelevant news article. . . Data from 2009. . . Before the folly pedestrian law. . .

An Arborigine

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 7:37 p.m.

Yay, another list, congrats to all those monitoring these important inclusions!

Ron Granger

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 9:40 p.m.

You can thank the school of dentistry for monitoring the inclusions.

Richard Carter

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 7:34 p.m.

As far as the poll, I am all three -- a pedestrian, a driver, and a bicyclist... and I think that there's more than enough bad behavior to go around in all three categories. Too many pedestrians like to walk into the crosswalk and cross when you're already driving partway through the intersection, or at a traffic light cross on their red. Too many bicyclists don't stop for traffic lights and almost get hit; combine that with doing it at night with no lights on their bike and they're creating a bad recipe for themselves. And more than a few drivers over the years have almost hit me by making turns into where I am crossing a street legally on foot, of late more times while they are distracted by their cell phones, and also have done things like deliberately cut me off when I am bicycling. And I had a laugh the day when I was riding down the sidewalk-congested part of downtown Liberty St. and got yelled at to get out of the street, and a few minutes later when I was less than three houses from home and went up on the sidewalk someone else yelled at me to get off the sidewalk and ride in the street.

David Bardallis

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 7:32 p.m.

I walk often downtown and I drive often downtown. Really, how difficult is it to not walk in front of a car, or if you're driving, to not hit someone in a crosswalk? I submit it requires neither some complicated new legal regime nor an advanced degree in physics. Just watch what you're doing. Accidents will still sometimes happen, but there is no way to create a 100% accident-free world.

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 3:40 p.m.

"Also, while it is true that there is no way to create a 100% accident free world, it is possible to create rules and laws that make people safer." But at what expense to freedom? If we lowered the speed limit to 5 MPH, made everybody wear a football/motorcycle helmet, banned all use of electronic devises unless sitting seat-belted in a non-moveable chair bolted to the floor in a permanent structure we could just about eliminate the 50,000 deaths a year associated with travel. Now clearly what i suggested would be considered ridicules by most everyone, but that's sort of my point. We put a price on 50,000 deaths.

Atticus F.

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 9:11 p.m.

That's a bit of an over-simplification. Especially considering that we have people walking around with I-pods, smart phones, Kindles ect, as well as having drivers who are prone to adjusting their heaters/AC and changing radio stations. Also, while it is true that there is no way to create a 100% accident free world, it is possible to create rules and laws that make people safer.

Craig Lounsbury

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 8:48 p.m.

well said.

Atticus F.

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 7:25 p.m.

We've had one person hit in a crosswalk, while another person was almost killed while riding her bike through a crosswalk. Doesn't seem very safe to me. As a matter of fact, I believe our local politicians have created a dangerous environment, in the sense that they have encouraged people to believe that it is safe walk in front of a moving vehicle, who might, or might not run them over.


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 2:33 p.m.

Atticus, I believe, is talking about a false sense of security engendered by not enough common sense in the campaign to make it safer for pedestrians. The main emphasis needs to be on stop, look and listen. When I grew up in Detroit, every home I knew had a "stop, look and listen" small sign taped to the exit door, to remind occupants that the responsibility to be safe as a pedestrian was the pedestrian's. You can be dead in your rights to cross a street, but if you end up being hit, you will suffer the brunt of the consequences.It is even more dangerous in this time of people using their smart phones while driving. Anyone crossing multilane streets needs to be careful, or go to a signaled crosswalk. Especially at night, when it is impossible to see pedestrians or bicyclists in the street unless they have lights on their person.

Richard Carter

Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 1:10 p.m.

I think where they've failed locally (and perhaps in Michigan as a whole) is education. There are other states I've been to where drivers actually *know* to stop for someone in a marked crosswalk, and drivers actually get ticketed for not. I've always thought emphasizing crosswalk laws would be a good education/advertising campaign state-wide.


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 1:29 a.m.

@Atticus F.: How have our local politicians created a dangerous environment? It has long been the law that drivers must stop for a pedestrian already in a crosswalk. Ann Arbor now has the additional requirement that drivers must stop for a pedestrian waiting on the curb to enter the crosswalk. That actually sounds safer to me. Ann Arbor also prohibits pedestrians from entering a crosswalk if it wouldn't give vehicular traffic enough time to safely stop. Again, that sounds pretty safe to me.


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 11:10 p.m.

If the city had 1000 residents, I would agree, but over ten fold that and it becomes not too bad. Any accident is unfortunate, but to remove that risk would be to remove autos.


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 7:52 p.m.

look at other cities then compare..


Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 7:17 p.m.

The report is from 2009, before the new crosswalk ordinance.


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 1:51 a.m.


Dhurandar Bhatavdekar

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 8:14 p.m.

When I drive, I ALWAYS stop when I see a pedestrian intent on crossing the street or parking lot. When I walk, I also ALWAYS stop in crosswalks or parking lots (because the cars keep zipping by and maybe the 10th car stops). I guess these two behaviors combined make Ann Arbor safe for pedestrians.

Jim Walker

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 : 7:36 p.m.

Correct, using that older data to evaluate today's environment is not valid. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, Ann Arbor, MI