You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 2:44 p.m.

Bicyclist in critical condition after being struck in Ann Arbor crosswalk Monday

By Kyle Feldscher


A marked crosswalk located on Washtenaw near Platt where a bicyclist was struck by a car around 6 p.m. Monday evening.

Jeffrey Smith |

This story has been updated with details on the collision from an eyewitness.

A 55-year-old Ann Arbor woman is still in critical condition after being struck by a vehicle while attempting to cross Washtenaw Avenue at Platt Road Monday evening.

Ann Arbor police Sgt. Bill Clock said the woman was attempting to ride her bike across the crosswalk, which is marked but does not have any traffic lights. He said the 25-year-old Ann Arbor man driving did not stop before hitting the woman but did so after the collision.

The man was driving a 1999 Ford sport utility vehicle, Clock said. The speed limit in the area is 45 miles per hour and Clock said a speed estimate was being done as a part of the investigation into the incident.

“There’s no indication of excessive speed there,” he said.

The accident stopped traffic in both directions after it occurred about 5:40 p.m. Monday evening. Numerous bystanders stopped to provide aid to the woman, who was transported by Huron Valley Ambulance to the emergency room at University of Michigan Hospital.

While there are no traffic lights at the crosswalk, it is marked and, under Ann Arbor city ordinance, motor vehicle drivers are supposed to stop for pedestrians who are in the crosswalk. When the ordinance went into effect last year, there were many reports of fender-benders when drivers didn’t notice others had stopped for pedestrians, but those reports had tapered off in recent months.

Michelle Stephens saw the incident and said it was a “terrible thing to witness.” Stephens said she was westbound on Washtenaw Avenue approaching Platt when she saw the woman start to cross the street. She said the SUV hit the woman broadside, sending her and the bike about seven feet in the air before landing on the road.

“She was laying on her side and I didn’t see her move at all,” Stephens said in an email to “The man who was driving the SUV stopped immediately after screeching into the left-turn lane and jumped out of his car to check her, and the cars immediately behind him stopped and got out to help as well.”

Traffic quickly backed up on eastbound Washtenaw Avenue, and Huron Valley Ambulance arrived on scene to transport the woman.

Clock said the investigation into the incident is ongoing and to this point, no charges have been filed. He said the report would be turned over to the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office when the investigation is complete for possible charges against the driver.

Stephens pointed to the dangerous nature of the crosswalk, situated just after the crest of a hill that makes it hard for those in the crosswalk and those driving to see what’s coming.

“The driver would have had time to stop or avoid her if he was very alert - the car next to him in the right lane certainly had time to stop - but if he even looked away for an instant that would have been enough time to not see the girl crossing,” Stephens said. “With the clouds and the rain, plus rush hour traffic, that area is a disaster.”

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.

View Larger Map



Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 2:55 a.m.

I know this woman personally and know she has her own life struggles...who really cares right now about all the politics behind crosswalks and such!!how bout just a simple lets pray for all involved, regardless of all the nonsense I see commented on...we are shallow people at times and always trying to find a reason why...i wonder why myself but also know that nvr take life for granted!!! I love u my friend and know ur always in my heart and u, julie


Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 1:41 a.m.

I've used that crosswalk hundreds of times going to and from the Rec Center on my bike. You need to be very cautious and always assume the motor vehicles do not see you. The crosswalk ordinance shouldn't apply to roads with speed limits over 35 mph. Drivers are not going to stop at higher speeds.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 1:46 a.m.

Excellent point! Thanks!

An Arborigine

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 9:13 p.m.

Perhaps a pedestrian tunnel or bridge would be a solution. Of course, that will open up the whole barrier-free can of worms. Then there's always the fact that the city is hurting for funds. Maybe if a bridge was designed such that it qualified as municipal art, the city would have a budget for it?

Jan Tripp

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 8:22 p.m.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the injured bicyclist. I hope she makes a full and speedy recovery. I can only imagine how the young man felt after hitting the bicyclist. As an Ann Arbor cyclist for over 40 years, the thought of getting run over by a vehicle is never far from my mind. I think that this crosswalk should be eliminated for the safety of anyone attempting to cross Washtenaw Avenue, be it someone on a bicycle or on foot. Five lanes of traffic traveling 45 mph (and more) don't mix well with a pedestrian crossing here. A traffic signal at Platt is about the only thing that makes sense to me. I can't see flashing cross-walk lights resulting in more than back-ups to US-23 and more rear-end car crashes The Ann Arbor cross walk ordinance gives pedestrians and bicyclists a false sense of security that cars will actually stop for them. Drivers are slowly catching on (me included) but with out-of-town drivers we may never educate everybody. I've never personally never used this crosswalk and I am reluctant to admit that I've never paid much attention to it while driving. I was surprised today at the Murray Rec Center that my car was parked about 20 feet from the crosswalk. Scary as there are big yellow signs across Washtenaw. I've used the signals at Manchester and Huron Parkway exclusively to get across Washtenaw. The crossing at Huron Parkway is dangerous due to right-hand turners that don't see you standing with your bicycle waiting to cross on the "Walk" light. Sometimes you have to wait for three cars to make the turn and by then the "Do Not Walk" light is on. Best to avoid this intersection completely whether on foot or in your car.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 3:10 a.m.

Exactly! Thank you for your excellent points. I, too, am cyclist and walker and cannot agree with you more!

Rose Garden

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 7:36 p.m.

I drive along that stretch of Washtenaw at least twice per day and I never think to watch for pedestrians. I walk along the path there for exercise and I would NEVER try to cross that busy street as a pedestrian or cyclist.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 3:06 a.m.

Me, too!


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 6:26 p.m.

I ride my bike all always to get around town and run errands. This is a terrible accident and I feel for both the biker and the driver of the car. Bikes have to be careful and stay out of the way of cars. I think there are too many bikers that ride bikes like they are a motor vehicle.They turn left in the turn lane and all that stuff, not me. I usually ride there on my own little private road A2 has there for me called the sidewalk. And I never liked those crosswalks from the start. We have lights for that. I maybe can see a crosswalk on a 3 lane Packard at 30 MPH.But a 5 lane Washtenaw at 45-50 MPH not for that.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 3:06 a.m.

Me, too! Thanks!


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 5:29 p.m.

Unmarked pedestrian crossings are a hazard to both the pedestrian and motorest, when one car stops they often partially obscure the pedestrian and the car in the other lane does not see that the car is stopped for any reason. The stopping in a heavily traveled road can and has caused collisions. Even with the crossings pedestrians and Bicycle riders are crossing streets in the non designated crossings. This law is a failure and a danger to all.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 3:24 a.m.



Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 5:24 p.m.

The entire Washtenaw Corridor from the juncture with E. Stadium into Ypsi is designed primarily as a commuter / commercial artery. For pedestrians and cyclists alike: it's really a version of Hell's Canyon. So arguing moral absolutes is just an annoying, wasteful diversion. The real question is whether it can be adapted to be more amenable to pedestrians and cyclists - and it looks like the answer is... "probably not." As either a cyclist or pedestrian: I take measures to avoid that area and have done so for about 14 years. My latest "adaptive measure" is to plan ahead and reserve a Zipcar for the few times I have to use the Washtenaw Ave. commuter / commercial corridor. FWIW: scientific evidence tells us that we humans are still adapted to bipedal locomotion, NOT to mechanical contrivance locomotion. Since such changes in adaptation take up to around 50,000 years, it "suggests" we have a long time to wait before we can make any morally absolute statements and that we're in for an equal lag in combining bipedal and mechanical modes of transportation. This is a case of a certain kind of infrastructure forcing a rapid adaptation. (Usual prognosis: failure.) LOL! Since the cops & prosecutor's office now have this incident in hand, we'll probably never know what the real motivations or thinking of the driver or the cyclist were - except through court transcript. Woe! Another chance to take indomitable (mutually conflicting) moral stands is ripped from our grasp! ;-)

E Claire

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 5:12 p.m.

"He said the 25-year-old Ann Arbor man driving did not stop before hitting the woman but did so after the collision." Am I the only one who sees the absurdity in this quote? If not mentioned, were we to think that he stopped, hit the gas again and hit the woman, then stopped again? BTW, prays to all involved for a full physical and emotional recovery.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 3:23 a.m.

No, you're not. And you're right to see the serious problem. And for your concern for the victims. THANKS for all of that!


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 3:40 p.m.

I avoid driving on Washtenaw at all costs.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 3:31 p.m.

The crosswalk ordinance is the DUMBEST law ever...used to be the instruction to a driver was "keep your eyes on the road", now you need to keep your eyes on the sidewalk, no, not just the sidewalk next to the crosswalk, but actually the sidewalk up and down the street to watch for bicycles approaching quickly so you can yield to them. What is wrong with a system of colored lights regulating the flow of vehicular traffic, red you stop, green you go? Pedestrians cross in front of a car when it is stopped by a red light? Too simple for the mayor? We need a new mayor, plain and simple. This one is too flacky, and it could kill people with this wacky crosswalk ordinance. The local body shops love the mayor, all the unnecessary rear end collisions from stopping short, it would be funny if this was a Seinfeld skit, but these are real people being hurt by this silly crosswalk ordinance.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 3:20 a.m.

Exactly! Couldn't have put it better!


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 3:28 p.m.

I hope this person will be ok, I hope the driver will be ok. Scary how our worlds can be set upside down in an instant! I ride my bike all over this crazy town. Almost everyday now due to the moronic street repair scheduling. One thing I've observed, AA is NOT bike friendly...not even remotely! Good thing I have a mountain bike, but even that takes a beating. All roads, all sidewalks, darn near everything I ride on is cracked, broken, uneven, pot-holed, misaligned, blind spotted etc., etc.!! I now believe riding a bicycle in this town is like playing Russian roulette with two in the chamber on five hole wheel. NUTS!!! Yet, that's what I am and I love the adrenaline rush of 1 NDE per hour. One thing to be "right" quite another to be "dead right". Leave the bike at home and drive, live another day!!!

Gretchen Ridenour

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 3:24 p.m.

My heart goes out to this bicyclist during her long road to recovery ahead of her. I am faithful at stopping at crosswalks throughout the day, but this is a difficult one to see in advance due to the hill. And we all know what a "dodge 'em car" road that Washtenaw becomes during rush hour. This needs to be more clearly marked in advance to help prevent more accidents like this. And we should all take notice since the students are coming soon and there will be alot of out-of-town drivers who aren't pedestrian friendly like we are here in A2.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 3:15 p.m.

I am afraid of semi-trucks; I am more afraid of bicycles when I drive.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 1:24 a.m.

Thank you! So am I!

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 3 p.m.

@ slave2 its part of the plan.they put so many microfilm signs,drivers have 2 choices.1-read all signs+drive into something cuz eyes arent on road or.B watch road+break some law cuz you werent reading signs.either way city gets big $$$.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 3 p.m.

then pu up a blinking crosswalk light. like the ones still missing on stadium blvd. maybe the money went to the art commission.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

A couple weeks ago I decided to try my hand (feet?) at using the crosswalk on Huron near Ingalls (across from Rackham on campus). Imagine my surprise when an AA Police car (not running with lights/sirens, just driving down the road) whizzed right by me when I was waiting on the curb. If the cops won't obey the law, I think I'm better off either making my way to a light or playing frogger like in the good old days. That being said, all the best to the cyclist for a quick recovery. Regardless of fault, I hope she's ok!


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 2:44 p.m.

There should be a blinking light system here just as there are on Plymouth Road.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

they need to do stadium blvd soon. i have seen several people stop on one side and the other side they go right on through.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 2:31 p.m.

"Stephens pointed to the dangerous nature of the crosswalk, situated just after the crest of a hill that makes it hard for those in the crosswalk and those driving to see what's coming." This sums it up. It's very unfortunate for all concerned, but that particular crosswalk is an accident waiting to happen. Washtenaw is a 4 lane congested roadway with 45 mph speed limits and unless there is a light at a crosswalk, such as the intersection with Arlington, it's not a good idea to try to cross the road. Very unfortunate accident.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 3:02 a.m.

Five lane!


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.

Another question!!,, What if the driver isn't from this area?.. The signs telling you you are reguired to stop at cross-walks are way to close and who can read them at 45 mph?. If you are watching the road, look away to try to read the sign and boom you are already in the crosswalk. What a bad place for a crosswalk. Seems ludacris for pedestrians or bicyclists to just venture out into any road with out traffic being clear. What ever happened to following the rules of the road?. and making bikers follow the rules also?.


Sat, Aug 18, 2012 : 11:46 p.m.

Says, WHO, Ron Granger? WHERE does "state law" state that "vehicles must stop for someone in a crosswalk" under ALL CONDITIONS, ANYWHERE, NO MATTER WHAT? CITE the EXACT source you imagine that to be the case. WHICH state provides such? CITE EXACT source. What are you talking about foobar417? California is the WORST place I've ever seen for pedestrians. Even Washtenaw at Platt is better than that!


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 8:51 p.m.

In most states, drivers have no problem driving as if they are expected to share the road and expecting pedestrians and bicylists to actually use the roads, sidewalks, and crosswalks. Try driving in California sometime. It's not that hard.

Ron Granger

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 2:51 p.m.

"What if the driver isn't from this area?" It is a state law. Vehicles must stop for someone in a crosswalk. It is also the case in most states.

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 1:30 p.m.

i dismount+walk my bike.then there is no question im a pedestrian.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

Sad situation, hope the woman who was injured heals quickly. This was a poor location for a crosswalk crest of a hill, no traffic control device. I have a coule of questions though? "She said the SUV hit the woman broadside....." So, the SUV caused the accident? And, who's the girl? "but if he even looked away for an instant that would have been enough time to not see the girl crossing," Stephens said" Is looking for a proof reader?

Kyle Feldscher

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 1:49 p.m.

Fabius- Investigators are still working to determine who caused the incident. This is just one person's eyewitness account of what happened. The official cause/blame will be determined by police. As for "the girl," Michelle is referring to the woman who was hit. I do not edit direct quotes and that was the term she used.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

I thought that is what the lights at the corner were for. It is hard enough to drive on Washtenaw without people crossing in the middle of it.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 12:48 a.m.

Wow! Mr Granger can't even negotiate a driveway! No wonder he can't handle 5 lanes of highway! I'm a walker -- and have NO problem walking a bit out of the way OR negotiating my way across that TERRIBLE crosswalk. The tragedy, however, occurred at RUSH HOUR. A time many people try to avoid and adjust their plans/routes for. IF you don't know that, WHAT do you know?


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

It is absurd for the occupant of a comfortable vehicle to tell peds to go a mile or more out of their way to cross the street for the sole convenience of said motorist (who chooses to ignore signage, etc.)

Ron Granger

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 2:50 p.m.

I think those lights are about a half mile away, adding about a mile to the trip. But to get to the lights, you must cross countless driveways. Crossing those driveways is extremely hazardous, because you don't know when a car will suddenly turn in or out - often without signaling. That is especially true when drivers are searching for a business, and then see it at the last moment.

Ron Granger

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 1:03 p.m.

As drivers of heavy machinery - cars and SUVs - we have heavy responsibilities. When there is a crosswalk sign, especially one prominently displayed as this one is above the crosswalk, it is our responsibility to scan the area for anyone who may be crossing. If you feel there is too much traffic to scan the area, or that you are moving too fast to give it an adequate look, then you meet the definition of driving too fast for conditions. Slow down. Wherever you are going likely isn't really that important. Being in a metal cage does not make you more important than anyone else.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 7:34 p.m.

"Being in a metal cage does not make you more important than anyone else." Thank you. We are a car society. A lot of these comments suggest that pedestrians/bikers are the ones at fault. I do not think this is an individual problem. I think this is group think problem. Everyone tailgates, so no one stops for walkers, but since no one does it, it's ok! Just because American driving culture says the only way people can travel safely is in a car, does NOT mean that that is how it should always be. Can't we change our behavior? I mean, is it really THAT hard?


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

Gotta say the ordinance is stupid. I've waited at a zebra crossing for as long as 5 mins due to cars not stopping or only one lane stopped and just crossed when traffic cleared until it was safe to do so. If traffic is thick and I am tired of waiting I will raise my arm, this indication helps drivers know I want to cross as opposed to wishing they could read my mind. While the ordinance says cars should stop with an approaching pedestrian the islands on Stadium have signs that say "stop for a pedestrian IN a crosswalk" I have now stopped three times on Ellsworth for a pedestrian standing at a crosswalk, only to have them step back and wave me to go b/c they were just waiting for a bus. I don't enter a crosswalk until the cars have stopped. If I have a walk signal I look over my shoulder to see that the people turning aware of me, the pedestrian. I don't have a bubble around me.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:53 p.m.

I have often "tested" the crosswalk ordinance at the crossing on Main between Liberty and William by just putting my leg out to see if anyone would stop. Alas, the ordinance consistently fails. On a brighter note, I have found that cars are more likely to stop for someone on crutches.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 6:58 p.m.

Are you actually crossing or are you just testing? I don't think I'd be too happy with you if I stopped my car and then you backed away.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:38 p.m.

Jackson road bike paths are an accident waiting to happen. wait and see.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

That is not a good place for a street crossing without a traffic light, especially if the speed limit there is 45 mph. Hopefully the cyclist heals quickly, and the city removes the crosswalk markings.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 11:57 a.m.

I really hope she recovers quickly. As a related comment, I really hope that pedestrians are not relying on an ordinance to protect them. Just because it may be techically legal to enter a crosswalk and cars are technically supposed to stop doesn't mean it's a good idea to do so, especially in peak traffic times. I'm not saying this is what happened here. I'm just saying that the ordinance is terrible and should be repealed immediately. When you have a traffic law that is unique to a locality, especially one that centers around pedestrians, tragedy is the obvious outcome.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 11:54 a.m.

Our laws are the failure here. Not too many were aware that there were situations where a bicycle was given the same rights as a pedestrian. It is a dangerous situation to allow a bicycle that can easily travel 10+ mph the right of way in a cross walk. Surprised that so many here are confident they could easily stop for one. I'm a little confused by comments who are quick to point their finger at the driver here... Eventually, with the increased traffic in the area, laws regarding bicycler rights will need to change. Some streets, Dexter-Chelsea Rd for example, are very challenging to share with large groups of bikers on both sides of the road who do not ride on the right close to the shoulder. More bicyclers are bound to be hit until laws change. Roads with 50 MPH speed limits with no shoulder are not safe for large groups of bicyclers.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : midnight

Try "with 'cyclists' violating Michigan Vehicle Code (257.660a), which states: "A person operating a bicycle upon a highway or street at less than the existing speed of traffic shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway." a2cents evidently is yet another "cyclist" who blatantly misrepresents AND VIOLATES Michigan law re cyclists. Yes, J, laws do, indeed need to be changed: For instance, cyclists need to be forced to undergo intensive education and to pass examinations before being allowed onto major roads. Which is clearly what needs to happen re a2cents. And yeah, law needs to enforced -- on both motorists AND cyclists.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:35 p.m.

"Eventually, with the increased traffic in the area, laws regarding bicycler rights will need to change. Some streets, Dexter-Chelsea Rd for example, are very challenging to share with large groups of bikers on both sides of the road who do not ride on the right close to the shoulder." Try: Eventually, with the increased traffic in the area, laws regarding (motorist) rights will need to change. Some streets, Dexter-Chelsea Rd for example, are very challenging to share with (speeding, distracted motorists) on both sides of the road who do not (pass other vehicles safely or provide a safe clearance while passing).


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 11:45 a.m.

I pray for both of them I have been hit twice at lights I believe anyone involved in an accident should have to be tested and there licenses temporarily suspended until the court so orders. Everyday drivers are out there that shouldn't be. I am so angry when I do not see people pull over for fire and ambulance and police. They don't know what they are doing.It just sad. Thank you Seto for having the police back out on the roads my day was a 2-3 hour wait for help no one.The Bicyclists I thought were considered vehicles in the 80's and 90's we spent millions on bike paths that are not utilized. What about a license to operate on the road and testing if people choose to be in the roads ?People are so angry driving these days to be in your 50's and be struck twice head on wrong lane and 30 miles an hour form behind ??? Insurance companies we are forever disabled and thrown away. What about the people Thank you young man for stopping most people flee.That is punishment in itself you will remember this day forever get him some help. I pray for you all the ones that flip me off for following the laws, the ones that honk when you are following the LAW. there ARE BIKERS, GEESE DEER CHILDREN OUT THERE. THE DRUNK DRIVERS TAKE A CAB.The ROADS ARE NOT SAFE ANYMORE!


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 4:26 p.m.

That's an interesting idea. So in this case, the bicyclist, being involved in a accident, would have to be tested and give up her license(if she has one)?


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:47 p.m.

their licenses taken away? how about innocent until proven quilty, the rest of your post reads manic.

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 11:08 a.m.

Two things: 1. Ann Arbor has thousands of crosswalks but only selected to add alert signage to a few along Plymouth road. That means other major crosswalks such as this one at Washtenaw and Platt remain without the blinking lights. This is not just potentially confusing to drivers. While one cannot defend this driver's inability to scan the road for obstacles, the city has an opportunity to make it easier for drivers to spot crosswalks in the future. 2. "...did not stop before hitting the woman." REALLY?


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 10:25 a.m.

This entire stretch of road from Carpenter to the Washtenaw/Stadium split is a disaster area and has been for decades. All we do is study after study on how to improve it and yet nothing has been done. I moved out of that area 5 years ago specifically because it was so dangerous to drive OR walk OR bicycle in that stretch. This should have been addressed 15 YEARS ago, not just now.

A A Resident

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 10:25 a.m.

From the article: " When the ordinance went into effect last year, there were many reports of fender-benders when drivers didn't notice others had stopped for pedestrians, but those reports had tapered off in recent months." That's because hardly anyone stops anymore. After stopping one time in my car, and having a vehicle behind me drive onto the sidewalk to avoid rear-ending me, I probably won't be stopping on my motorcycle. Safer to be ticketed. And if I am, I'll fight it in court, hiring an attorney if necessary. As others have mentioned, it was only a matter of time before this "feel-good" ordinance resulted in casualties.


Sat, Aug 18, 2012 : 11:09 p.m.



Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 11:25 a.m.

Agree 100%! It is safer all around NOT to stop. What a stupid ordinance.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 9:58 a.m.

I drive to and from work passing this crosswalk every day. The exact same thing almost occured between myself and a person on a bicycle just last week. I would think this ordianace had the intention of protecting pedestrians near the U of M Campus and Downtown. In the spot where this happened I had to take evasive acction and lay it on the horn to get the bikers attention. I was traveling the speed limit and came up over the hill only to have a guy just stepping off the curb. Not enought time for me to come to a stop complete stop even doing the speed limit. A good Idea for all involved is to to familiarize yourself with you usually traveled route and slow down when appproaching these mid block crosswalks. Bicyclists and pedestrains should attempt top have have eye contact with the driver. I was taught as a kid never to step in front of a car ever unless the driver and I locked eyes. At night NEVER ! As far as this ordinance, this was waiting to happen. In fact I am suprised this did not happen within a month of it being enforced. This really should be a wake up call to either repeal the ordinance or without a 6 month study, put up bright flashing yellow traffic lights at all these mid block crosswalks. There is another one on Plymouth Road that is on a curve with another accident just waiting to happen. God-speed to this lady in her recovery. she isa someones mother, wife, sister ect. Same goes for the driver. A trauma like that may require some counseling. I know I would feel horrible if I ever hit a person with my car.


Sat, Aug 18, 2012 : 11:06 p.m.

Great response! Thanks!


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 6:27 a.m.

without placing blame here, many things that I learned in Kindergarten still make sense 30 some years later. Don't spit, bite or pull hair. Look before crossing and walk your bike across. Refresher coarses in Safety Town would benefit a lot of people in this town.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 6:19 a.m.

Hi. I am one of the (apparently life throw-away-ing) people who bike through crosswalks. It has been asked repeatedly in this thread: "Why would you bike through a crosswalk?" I do it because it is completely legal, it is faster, and often much safer, than dismounting and walking. On a bike, I am quick. A gap in traffic that would be too small for a walker could allow buckets of time for a bike. (I never expect drivers to stop for me.) Why do we judge that a human in a car as safe to make a snap judgement to cross traffic, but a human on a bike making the same decision is seen as reckless? I cannot speak for all bikers, but I am not blithely unaware of my potential for harm. I do not want to be hit by or impede cars. I LIKE being uninjured. I think we REALLY need car driver's education to include a section on a bikers, and we need bikers education (a guide maybe?) on how bikers should act as vehicles or as a pedestrian. People in cars too often don't respect bike's rights/safety (making a turn into bike lanes without checking for bikers, parking in bike lanes, never looking for pedestrians, tailgating so that no one CAN stop for pedestrians, honking) or act terrified of bikes (cars that refuse to move if there's a bike when the car has right of way at a 4 way, cars veering into another lane to avoid a bike despite the bike having lots of room). And bikers need education too, on how to signal, when to act like a ped and when to be a vehicle. Police also need to start pulling over bikers than run red lights (UGH). Also: "Michigan Vehicle Code, bicyclists in crosswalk are considered the same as pedestrians (#3): 257.660c Operation of bicycle upon sidewalk or pedestrian crosswalk."

Alex Nickodemus

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 2:33 a.m.

I'm confused. I thought pedestrians (root of that word being "ped", or FOOT) meant people traveling on foot. For all the fighting about cyclists' rights to the road, why is it that as soon as one is riding (not walking, as you're supposed to) their so-called "vehicle" across a 5 lane road in a crossWALK, suddenly said rider is an innocent pedestrian who was struck by a law-breaking criminal? But if they're riding on the street, they're a vehicle with equal rights to the road? (yet, in most cases, do not feel the need to actually abide by the rules of the road, for example, riding between lanes of cars stopped at a red light)


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 11:22 a.m.

Well said Alex!


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 5:47 a.m.

As stated above by SEC Fan. "FYI: per Michigan Vehicle Code, bicyclists in crosswalk are considered the same as pedestrians (#3): 257.660c Operation of bicycle upon sidewalk or pedestrian crosswalk. Sec. 660c. (1) An individual operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a pedestrian crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian. (2) An individual shall not operate a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a pedestrian crosswalk if that operation is prohibited by an official traffic control device. (3) An individual lawfully operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a pedestrian crosswalk has all of the rights and responsibilities applicable to a pedestrian using that sidewalk or crosswalk." Latin roots do not a law make.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 2 a.m.

Please, please, please get that planned light installed at Platt and Washtenaw ASAP! That crosswalk is at a bad location - high speed and poor visibility make a very poor combination. I would never dream of crossing there on foot or on a bike. If I had a the speed of a bike I would go to the nearest light.

Kevin Bolon

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 1:59 a.m.

This is a difficult area for pedestrians. Here are a few of my observations: - This cross-walk is at the very crest of the hill (not after, as the witness reported) and therefore is at the VERY best location for visibility from both directions. - Washtenaw Ave. needs HAWK signals , both at this crosswalk and at the bus stop across from Whole Foods. - These locations on Washtenaw Ave. need safety islands, so that bikes/pedestrians have a place to stop to make sure that traffic in the opposite lanes will actually stop. Although the article doesn't mention the directions of travel, I suspect the driver was on the far side of the road from where the woman began crossing. Plymouth Rd. has both HAWK signals, and safety islands, and (I believe) is much safer as a result.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 2:22 a.m.

I actually went out again today to look at the site. Can't get the scene out of my head. The crosswalk is at the crest of the hill but the woman started out east of the crosswalk, so actually behind the crest of the hill. (I live near there, and actually a lot of people don't use the crosswalk where it's posted, for whatever reason, I don't know). Also, she was actually on the near side of the street to the driver. The driver was eastbound, she started out from the eastbound side, I think from the Rec Center. HAWK signals would help, for sure. But this unfortunate event was really no one's fault - not the woman's, nor the driver's, nor the city's. It was a combination of bad circumstances and some errant judgment. I really feel for the woman and the driver.

Milton Shift

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 1:29 a.m.

Why is it that accidents are now treated as criminal matters? Does everything have to end with someone in prison?


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 3:28 a.m.

All accidents are potential criminal matters until criminality has been ruled in or out by the investigation, just as in this case. To quote from the above story, "Clock said the investigation into the incident is ongoing and to this point, no charges have been filed. He said the report would be turned over to the Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office when the investigation is complete for possible charges against the driver." There is no certainty of criminality in this unfortunate accident. But it surely needs to be investigated. And even if there is some legal liability found by the investigation, the sentence would not necessarily involve prison.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 1:11 a.m.

50mph speed limit on a street with crosswalks, driveways, business entrances etc. is just insane. More lanes makes it worse, not better. I've never understood Michigan speed limits- it is as if every time you regulating speed someplace, an angel fails to gets its wings. This state needs to get its head sorted out.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 1:37 a.m.

" More lanes makes it worse, not better" The A2 answer is to make a two lane road with and island and bike lanes on both sides. Actually, maybe an island there is a good idea.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 1:05 a.m.

Per MDOT position on other accidents, this is an indication that speed limits needs increased upon this street. Pedestrian safety is a city issue. Sounds crazy, but its the position our state has taken. to change it, vote for different people.

Urban Sombrero

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:16 a.m.

How scary! I really hope she's alright. I'll keep her in my thoughts. That said, I really wish the city would use some common sense with these crosswalks. The spot where this happened is in an incredibly busy area. Lights, or some sort of signal to drivers, would definitely help. Yes, I know drivers need to watch but at the same time, a little, "Hey! Someone's trying to cross here!" notification could help immensely. Also, Officer Clock gave me my one and only traffic ticket. I'd grrr about it, but I deserved it. And, he was nothing but professional, so....


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:09 a.m.

This is an extremely dangerous crosswalk! Before the city reworded the new ordinance, I saw people get rear-ended. But people still want to cross and no one slows down or stop. This crosswalk needs the flashy light system like Plymouth Road has. I would even be willing to donate money to put one there!


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 11:59 p.m.

Chuck brings up a critical point. Pedestrians and cyclist are constantly putting their lives in the hands of total strangers. I submit that not many would invite a stranger into their home. BUT that would be much safer than assuming every driver can see you or will stop if they do see you. Wise up and stop putting your lives in a total strangers hands!

Chuck Saltpeter

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 11:38 p.m.

I consider myself an extremely defensive driver and I walk and use the bus system a lot and from what I've seen I've concluded: You're better off breaking the law and not stopping at a crosswalk on roads with more than two lanes (one in each direction) so you don't obstruct the view of the pedestrian by other drivers (and vice versa) and don't encourage the pedestrian to cross unsafely. If a pedestrian has committed to crossing and is putting their life in my hands, I'm stopping and trying to get other cars around me to stop, even if that means pulling halfway in to the lane next to me.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 1:42 p.m.

Actually putting on your hazard lights would tell the other cars that you are stopping for a different reason than a pedestrian and they would be more likely to go around you which would make it more likely that the pedestrian would get hit.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 1:39 a.m.

putting your hazard lights on is also helpful

Ron Granger

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 11:29 p.m.

As you can see in the photo accompanying the story, the crosswalk has a prominent sign hanging above it, as well as signs on the side of the roadway.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 12:06 a.m.

Which doesn't make the crosswalk "right" or the pedestrian visible, especially on that hill, with heavy traffic, and at 45 mph.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 11:20 p.m.

Who in the world put a crosswalk there, Isn't that five lanes? Dangerous place to cross! It has been my observation that this crosswalk law is a joke, not to be trusted, drivers are very unlikely to stop, I will not cross until all cars have come to a stop, or none are around. It is a dangerous trap to pedestrians who think they can trust drivers to stop for them. I love the concept but it expects too much of our in a hurry distracted driving public. This will not be the last time we have to read about this type of tragedy. It makes me sick to think about the Woman now in critical condition who was simply trying to cross the road, on or off her bike, it might have been avoided if we didn't have this risky ordinance, change it!


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 12:22 a.m.

Excellent response! Thank you!


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 11:17 p.m.

What a wonderful location for AA's first ped tunnel


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 12:29 a.m.

Excellent idea! Thanks! The problem, though, is that it'll cost Big Bucks, which the city bureaucrats have sucked away into their paychecks, pensions, and healthcare plans. Paint and a few signs -- including an overhead -- cost little and so don't threaten the Booty. Which is what EVERYTHING is all about -- NOT the life or safety of ANYONE! Which this particular "crosswalk" clearly shows! A DISASTER just waiting to happen.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 11:23 p.m.

err: 2nd if you count the uom golf course tunnel.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 11:09 p.m.

I think that a pedestrian bridge should be where the crosswalk is.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 12:21 a.m.

EXACTLY! Which DOES suggest what the motives of the designers of AA's misguided ordinance really are NOT: Pedestrian safety and convenience! If NOT those, WHAT are those motives? STOPPING 45 MPH traffic dead in its tracks on a STATE HIGHWAY into town? How 'bout ALL those crosswalks on Pauline? (Some of which aren't visible from the street!) And the one-way streets, here, there, and everywhere downtown? WHAT is the point of those? WHY is it now OK, for instance, for South State St. to be two-way by the Diag when it wasn't before? Says WHO? And why is it forbidden for motor vehicles to turn left through TWO lanes from Washtenaw onto Platt but it's OK for pedestrians to cross FIVE lanes 100 feet further west? Where a person was just critically injured? If it's not safe for the former, HOW is it for the latter? Says WHO? Why NOT a bridge? How MUCH would that cost, compared to all this ordinance nonsense -- "signage," "flashing lights," not to mention human life? Human life, anyone? WHERE is the concern for THAT? ANYWHERE?


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 10:55 p.m.

If this crosswalk is obstructed by a hill on a 45 mile per hour busy road, then it should be eliminated. If convenience is the reason for it, then they need to erect a stoplight.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 10:40 p.m.

I believe it is a case of "selective exclusion". Car drivers are never expecting to see pedestrians or bikes crossing mid-intersection. Without highly visible lights markers to grab attention, the driver naturally excludes the biker or pedestrian. Same thing happens frequently with motorcycles at turning intersections. The driver is specifically looking for cars, trucks or buses and does not see cycles. Shame on Ann Arbor for putting that cross walk there without providing a traffic signal and endangering pedestrians. (The victim has a good case against the City for documented endangerment.)


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 10:28 p.m.

The article suggests that accidents caused by pedestrian crossings are "tapering off": I witnessed one in the lane next to me on Aug 3, on Plymouth near the entrance to the Kroger part of the mall, 30 yards from the stoplight by McDonald's. Traffic was spotty, pedestrian hit the Hawk light button, which immediately turned on (as intended): car nearest her in the curb lane, maybe 20 feet away, stopped, car behind that could not stop in time. Because pedestrian could not walk 30 yards, or wait until four cars had passed to hit the button, two cars were seriously damaged. Having the legal right of way is one thing; exercising it sensibly is another. Because of the fast change the Hawk lights can make, it is possible to create a situation where a car cannot stop in time: choose between a $100 ticket, hitting a pedestrian, or driving 15 mph.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 2:38 a.m.

Glad the signs are working for you; for the rest of us, opinions may differ. And I expect the drivers of the bashed-in Lexus and Toyota will beg to differ with you as well. Thousands in damage because one pedestrian could not exercise ten seconds of restraint. A poorly written law, poorly executed.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:46 a.m.

First, those aren't HAWK signals on Plymouth. They are pedestrian activated flashing beacons. There's a difference. Second, I live/work right in that area and can state unequivocally those beacons on Plymouth have made an immense difference for both drivers and walkers. Not perfect - won't be on a busy road like that one - but vastly improved.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 10:06 p.m.

That is simply an inadequate "crossing control" for that location. Too many lanes, too much traffic, poorly located at the crest of a hill and too many intersections with side streets in the area. Just too risky for pedestrians and motorists alike. It appears to have been designed in the school of wishful thinking and worked accordingly today.

Are you serious?

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:56 p.m.

Note: I went by this accident just after it happened and was puzzled there was NOTHING on last night or even this morning. Why was that? As of of the many thousands of motorists that drive this route several times daily I agree with all the comments about the dangerous nature of this cross walk. Given how backed up traffic is on Washtenaw most times of the day, it would probably not slow traffic down much to put a traffic light there. The traffic will only get worse when the new construction just east of these is complete.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 2:50 a.m.

I agree with you. I was troubled last night to find, on, that the only mention of it was part of a story about AATA buses runing late because of a minor accident on Washtenaw. I pointed out in comments that it wasn't minor, because I, like a lot of others, had driven by just after it had occurred.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 10:48 p.m.

I was thinking about the new construction too. It's going to be a nightmare all around.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:53 p.m.

I hope this points out the flaw with this ordinance and the danger pedestrians and bicyclist have at these type of crossings. For example, the ones on W. Stadium Blvd. No one stops. Everyone is already driving so close and fast that if you were to stop, there is no question that you would be hit. And it sounds like this crosswalk is even worse with a blind crest. On crossings like these, a light (like the one on Jackson rd/Huron just before entering downtown) need to be put in. They warn vehicles with plenty of time and can be seen for quite a ways.

Vince Caruso

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:49 p.m.

We worked hard to get islands on Liberty St. years ago and it has made a very big difference in crossing without a traffic light. Same for the newer islands. Thankfully in AA it has now become standard to have islands in road reconstruction- Stadium, Seventh, Packard, ... We should get them on Jackson when they redo the road to 3 lanes from 4 to work toward complete streets design. Not only are there no islands there are no crosswalks mid block and not even at some lights on Jackson-Huron. These old street designs were for cars only and that needs to change for a host of reasons least of which is ped., bike and auto safety (especially for kids and older folks crossing). Cars are not the only ones using our roadways, they should not be designed like they are.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:36 p.m.

First: my sympathy and best wishes for the injured cyclist. Second: Are people RIDING a bicycle, pedestrians or a wheeled vehicle. I was always told that the only time I was a pedestrian was when I was pushing my cycle and when riding it, I was to obey traffic rules. Could the City attorney please clarify this for everybody? As drivers, we need to know how we are expected to treat cyclists.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

Cyclists riding on a sidewalk are supposed to be treated like pedestrians, act like pedestrians and follow the laws as if they were a pedestrian. Cyclists riding in the street are supposed to be treated like vehicles, act like vehicles and follow the laws as if they were a vehicle.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:43 a.m.

"We need to know how we are expected to treat cyclists." Easy answer: don't hit them, no matter where on the road they might be. Really, not complicated.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 10:19 p.m.

A cyclist riding a bike on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk is a pedestrian under the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code. In a comment above, SEC FAN posted the relevant section of the Code: 257.660c Operation of bicycle upon sidewalk or pedestrian crosswalk. Sec. 660c. (3) An individual lawfully operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a pedestrian crosswalk has all of the rights and responsibilities applicable to a pedestrian using that sidewalk or crosswalk.

Holy Cow

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:34 p.m.

I completely agree with A2M3's comment that it was only a matter of time until something like this happened. Unfortunately, more and more crosswalks like this are appearing around town and there is much confusion as to whether people need to stop at all crosswalks or only the ones that make it clear that it is expected. Maybe all of the crosswalks need to have reminder signs that it is the law. I personally think that everyone should cross at an intersection like they always have. How many critical injuries or deaths will it take for the city to rethink these crosswalks?

Paul Wiener

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:31 p.m.

Expecting a crosswalk to slow down or stop traffic is like expecting an email to warn you of a tornado. Putting painted crosswalks on the ground in highly trafficked and poor visibility areas - and there are many - is a naive and dangerous way to handle traffic. It's a "safety measure" that should have been outlawed years ago, because it's deceptive. Unfortunately, there are still many pedestrians and others who actually believe in their effectiveness, and fail to use their senses, common and biological.

John Gotts

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:28 p.m.

I almost got hit by a stupid old lady on Stadium last week. I was walking in the crosswalk in the middle of a sunny day back to my office job near Maple and Jackson from the grocery store with two grocery bags in hand. She was speeding and slammed on her brakes just a few feet before me. Had she hit me and not killed me, I would have made her pay for the rest of my life's expenses and retired to a nice house in the country.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:10 p.m.

The ordinance is ridiculous! I hope the poor woman who was hit sues the town!. We live in a town with many transient people. STUDENTS! How in the world do people know there is such an ordinance as there are no signs stating so on any roadway. Washtenaw is the busiest road in town, who in their right mind would think pedestrians have the right of way on a crosswalk with no stoplight? Town officials need to take their heads out of the sand and realize it was their stupidity that caused this accident.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

Exactly. State law, BTO, does NOT state "that drivers must yield to people in the crosswalk."

Madeleine Borthwick

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

Out of the *sand*, huh?


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 1:24 p.m.

Actually as much as I disagree with the new city crosswalk law in this instance the woman in questions was aleady in the crosswalk and state law states that drivers must yield to people in the crosswalk. The city tried to make it easier for people to get in the crosswalk but once there you are supposed to yield to them anywhere in the state.

Dana Wolford

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:06 p.m.

I cal for a light or take out the cross walk! I personally think this cross walk ord is crazy because something like this will happen. I've been saying so since last summer. However, if the city want's it's ord then they need to make it safe!! I agree with the whitness "but if he even looked away for an instant that would have been enough time to not see the girl crossing," Stephens said. "With the clouds and the rain, plus rush hour traffic, that area is a disaster." That instant could have been looking at a mirror. I live near that intersection and go to the rec and personally I'd love a light at Washtenaw and Platt. With the addition of a new school on Platt (SKS) the need for a light seems even higher.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9 p.m.

There are no signaled crosswalks on this particular stretch of Washtenaw. This might be a good place to put one. I have been in fear of hitting someone at this crosswalk ever since the crosswalk ordinance went into effect. The visibility is bad. If you are driving in the left lane and there is a larger car in the right lane just ahead of you, you simply cannot see someone waiting (or starting) to cross from the right hand side. If you are a pedestrian and the car in the right hand lane stops, you can't see the cars in the left hand lane either. If there was ever a place that begged for some kind of signaled cross walk, this is it! It also wouldn't hurt to install one of those traffic islands in the middle of the road either.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 3:31 p.m.

The intersection at Huron Pkwy and Washtenaw is a full 1/2 mile away. So someone wanting to cross the street there would have to walk a half mile to the signal and then another half mile back to the cross walk. You are essentially saying that you think that people should walk a mile out of their way because you can't be inconvenienced to stop for a minute. The intersection only seems close because you are in a car.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 11:22 a.m.

"There are no signaled crosswalks on this particular stretch of Washtenaw. " but, there is an intersection with traffic lights at Huron Pkwy and Washtenaw, which is not very far away. Why take the risk of crossing at an unmarked crosswalk when there is an intersection that close?


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:50 p.m.

There is a new light that pedestrians activate by hand on Huron near the YMCA on the west side. Every other time I've used this feature, a car has screeched to a halt for the red light, as folks are used to "blasting through" this stretch of road. It still feels only vaguely safe to cross. We need more of these pedestrian touch lights throughout Ann Arbor before we buy more public art installations.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:49 p.m.

This is a very dangerous crosswalk. The visibility for drivers and for pedestrians is quite good (the crosswalk is at the top of an incline). The intersection is very clearly marked. The nearest traffic lights are at least a quarter of a mile in each direction at Washtenaw and Huron Parkway and at Washtenaw and Sheridan. The crosswalk connects an AATA bus stop directly across Washtenaw from the Meri Lou Murray county recreation center. I have crossed the street here and it is very daunting. The speed limit is 45 mph and many drivers seem to be going faster. The new Ann Arbor pedestrian crossing ordinance is a danger to pedestrians, cyclists, and car drivers. The Ann Arbor police could write citations all day long if they had someone pose as a pedestrian at this crosswalk. I walk for two-three hours each day around town and I have had three cars stop as I wait at crosswalks since the ordinance was enacted. I have started to stand well back from the crosswalk to wait for traffic to clear because it is too dangerous to try to guess if all lanes of traffic are going to stop because one driver has stopped.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 10:48 p.m.

"...The Ann Arbor police could write citations all day long if they had someone pose as a pedestrian at this crosswalk. .." The police could also give citations to bicyclists all day long.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:41 p.m.

Wouldn't it be wonderful were there lights at all the crosswalks such as exist at the one on Huron Street that can be activated when one traverses it? This would be especially true on high trafficked thoroughfares such as Washtenaw and Plymouth Road. There are no traffic lights in close proximity to the intersection at Washtenaw and Platt and the traffic passes by that intersection in both direction--very often without a break. If the driver were traveling east, it would seem to me that the hill shouldn't have interfered with the driver's vision, though it might have for the bicyclist. Isn't a traffic light scheduled for that intersection, especially now that construction is moving ahead with the new shopping center?


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:29 p.m.

Warning lights make a HUGE difference. I can always see the warning lights on Plymouth Rd. even if my vision is blocked by a big truck or other distraction. With a 45 mph speed limit, we absolutely need warning lights. (or, we could turn every 1 per cent for art into memorials for lost pedestrians.)


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 10:06 p.m.

Ever notice though, that often pedestrians fail to activate the lights before crossing?


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:28 p.m., What are the rules regarding intent for bicyclists? Ever since the pedestrian ordinance has passed, I've had two close calls with bicyclists on crosswalks. Usually at a crosswalk, I can judge the intent of a pedestrian because they are typically waiting at the edge of a crosswalk which prompts me to stop. Twice, I've had bicyclists ride full speed along a parallel sidewalk and then make a sudden 90 degree turn into a crosswalk resulting in a near miss as I slam the brakes. Would I have been at fault if there were a collision?

Lynn Liston

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 10:18 p.m.

I have had walking pedestrians pull that, too. They simply barge onto the crosswalk approach and keep on going regardless of how close a vehicle is. I nearly hit a runner that way. Pedestrians, including cyclists, need to understand that it takes time to stop a car and that within a certain distance, a car cannot simply stop for them. We need safe stopping distance marks on the road ahead of the crosswalks to let pedestrians know when and when not to step out into the road.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:27 p.m.

I am very, very familiar with that crosswalks as I use it at least once a week. It is dangerous, BUT, a pedestrian can cross it safely once traffic clears. I have patiently waited for up to a minute for heavy traffic to pass. I can easily envision trying to cross that wide patch of road while cars are coming, and not have a driver really notice a person until they actually hit them. Pedestrians need to not only think for themselves, but ASSUME always, that the person in the car, may not always be fully alert to notice you. I hope the woman is ok.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:10 p.m.

& when during rush hour does traffic clear in both directions long enough for a ped to cross? An island would seem appropriate. The folks who say cross only at lights seem to ignore the fact that lights are few and far between.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:33 p.m.

I do the same, I never put my life in the hands of a driver at a crosswalk. I'd prefer to wait for some clearance in the traffic. Obviously, its easier said than done when its rush hour, but in those cases I'll walk to a traffic signal instead.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:26 p.m.

I've often thought that is about the worst crosswalk in Ann Arbor. As a driver, I always try to stop for pedestrians waiting to cross in a crosswalk, but the one time I tried at this crosswalk, I was almost read-ended. I've often seen pedestrains here make it halfway across the street, only to wait in the left turn lane (still super dangerous). As a pedestrian, wanting to cross at this crosswalk about 2 years ago, I instantly thought better of it and just walked down to Huron Parkway. Put in a "HAWK" at this crosswalk!

Kilgore Trout

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:16 p.m.

I don't care if it is a crosswalk or if the lights say I can walk intot he street , I still look both ways.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:12 p.m.

I'll bet they put in a HAWK light at that crossing after this accident. Its a perfect place for one.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 10:20 p.m.

They should remove the crosswalk. The traffic backups on Washtenaw are bad enough without introducing another traffic signal.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 10:02 p.m.

The problem with the HAWK lights: not all pedestrians activate them!


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:12 p.m.

Maybe this crosswalk is in a dangerous spot and should be removed?


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 3:45 p.m.

If you upgrade it to a HAWK, sure.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:08 p.m.

I've been waiting for this to happen. That's an insanely dangerous place for a uncontrolled crosswalk -- 4 lanes at 45mph with heavy traffic AND a hill that impairs visibility. Put in a light or take out the crosswalk.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:07 p.m.

There's so many crosswalks in this town that need to be clearly marked. It's scary driving sometimes, and unfortunately, a terrible outcome had to come from this one. Hopefully she makes a fully recovery.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:04 p.m.

I saw a bicyclist almost get hit riding across Huron at the "HAWK"crossing. I was always taught that you dismount & walk at crosswalks- in other words you become (temporarily) a pedestrian.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:27 a.m.

A HAWK crossing is one where the red light becomes operative when a pedestrian wants to cross the street. The pedestrian presses a button and the light turns yellow and then red so the pedestrian can cross. The light is inoperative at all other times. There is a HAWK light on Huron by Third.

Dana Wolford

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:23 p.m.

What is the HAWK crossing?


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:04 p.m.

I've stopped there for a pedestrian before. It is frightening for everyone involved. One guy I stopped for would not walk into the crosswalk even though I stopped...I guess he figured nobody else was going to stop. I don't blame him one bit....5 lanes and 45mph. There shoudl should be no unsignaled crossings on raods like that. Calling it the driver's fault for "blasting through" and "not stopping afterward" is just a bunch of people trying to make the situation worse than it is. The way I read it is much different. Speed was not a factor and he could not stop before hitting the cyclist but immediately did so upon impact and jumped out to check on the cyclist. I somehow feel that shows concern rather than a hit and run as so many accuse.

Ron Granger

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:02 p.m.

A busy, high speed road like Washtenaw means drivers must exercise even more alertness - for pedestrians, entering cars, turning cars, buses, bicycles, motorcycles, bus stops, debris in the road, illegal turns and u-turns, animals crossing - everything. And on that road you will encounter all of those things.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 1:57 p.m.

But the comment is perfect, as it demonstrates precisely the problem: Dogmatism causing one to lose all sense, including that which should be "common."


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 11:47 p.m.

Ron Have you EVER or will you EVER acknowledge that pedestrians and cyclist have responsibilities also? It's kind of like confronting a burglar with a gun in your home . Do you tell them they can't have your belongings because they are in the wrong and stand your ground? Or do you wait until they leave then call the police? It helps to use some common sense when trying to prove a point.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:01 p.m.

My parents taught me to look both ways when I was about 3 years old, and as of this date havn't even had a close call. I wont even walk in front of a car if the driver waves me on, if something goes wrong, I'm the one on the loseing end. Protect yourselves people, don't ever trust ANYONE with your life.

G. Orwell

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:01 p.m.

Blame the politicians that push agendas even when it makes no sense. This was predicted when the death cross walk ordinance went into effect. More people will be injured and possibly die. Repeal the ordinance. I hope the newly elected council members will have more sense and concern over the well being of its residents.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 1:54 p.m.

Exactly! Anti-motor-vehicle dogma predominates, even over the lives of pedestrians.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:58 p.m.

We can only hope. Apparently common sense is not common in city council.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8 p.m.

Ann Arbor is going to have to get this right. A pedestrian is someone who is walking. A bike is a vehicle. A person on a bike on the sidewalk may be considered a pedestrian, but if the bicycle is going any faster than a walking pace, without stopping before entering the crosswalk, Ann Arbor has, in effect created an ordinance that will encourage future accidents. I pray this woman heals, and the driver is ok emotionally!


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:41 a.m.

State law (not AA law..I say again...NOT AA law) says a person on a bike in a crosswalk has all the rights of a pedestrian. See above posts for the citation. But since you aren't permitted to hit either a bike or pedestrian, regardless of if they are in crosswalk or not, I'm not why this really matters.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:01 p.m.

This woman really was a pedestrian, not a professional or even amateur cyclist. She was pedaling slowly across the street, not much faster than a walking pace. She did stop before entering the crosswalk, too. To me neither the woman nor the driver are completely at fault: she misjudged the speed with which the oncoming traffic was approaching, and the driver's attention was probably diverted momentarily towards other traffic. Terrible, unfortunate circumstances. A lot of drivers dealing with cyclists are idiots, and sometimes the opposite is true, but this was neither.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:55 p.m.

I was not aware that there was a marked pedestrian crossing at Platt Road and Washtenaw. How did such a crossing even come into existence? Washtenaw is marked as I-94B, and is treated as a business loop and traffic throughfare. Are we to believe that 45 mph rush-hour traffic should be stopped unilaterally by the decision of a single pedestrian desiring to cross the road away from marked crossings? Seems like poor policy.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 11:59 p.m.

Ron Granger - Are you the sort of person who thinks it's a good idea to cross a five-lane business loop at rush hour because some committee of bureaucrats, some time ago and lacking information on the circumstance of the situation, thought it would be a good idea? I mean, we should be honest here: These people didn't even think it was important to provide an illuminated and controlled crossing signal to help you you trust the rest of their judgement?


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 11:22 p.m.

"...Are we to believe car drivers are so much more important that they can't be bothered to stop for someone in a crosswalk on a busy road..." Roads were built for cars, not bikes. And not pedestrians. So, to answer your question, cars are more important, especially during rush hour.

Ron Granger

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:30 p.m.

"Are we to believe that 45 mph rush-hour traffic should be stopped unilaterally by the decision of a single pedestrian desiring to cross the road away from marked crossings?" It is a marked crossing. Are we to believe car drivers are so much more important that they can't be bothered to stop for someone in a crosswalk on a busy road? I know it takes so much effort...


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:51 p.m.

That crosswalk is in a very dangerous place on Washtenaw. Yes, the speed limit is 45 mph. Yes it's slightly on a hill and can be hard to see depending on what direction you're driving in. Washtenaw can be very busy and the flow of traffic difficult even for car drivers. I've seen people stranded in the turn lane trying to get across that crosswalk. I would never assume that anyone would stop for me at that location, regardless of the law. Having said that, I hope this woman recuperates fully. And a part of me feels badly for the driver, it must have been a terrifying experience for him as well.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:49 p.m.

Sorry, I missed the critical condition so I hope she recovers quickly.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:47 p.m.

Not a crossing I would attempt at 5:45 PM on a weekday. Heavy traffic volume and always seems like a football Saturday. Either way, I hope the cyclist does not have serious injuries and recovers quickly.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

It's not a simple question. State law says cyclists in crosswalks have the same rights as pedestrians, but state law doesn't say you have to stop for pedestrians in mid-block crosswalks (except blind and handicapped). It's the city ordinance 10:148 that says motorists have to yield to pedestrians in mid-block crosswalks, and it only talks about pedestrians. Does the state law mean that our local ordinance automatically covers cyclists too, even when it only talks about pedestrians? Hard to say. Earlier drafts of the crosswalk ordinance covered cyclists in the crosswalk as well, but the final version doesn't, and the Uniform Traffic Code (recommended ordinances) doesn't either. Another good reason to avoid biking on sidewalks, and walk across crosswalks. Had she been walking her bike across the crosswalk, there would be much less of a question that she had right of way. Because she was biking in a crosswalk, it's a little unclear. BTW, someone should tell Detroit Edison's drivers, and the dirt hauling truck drivers that UM has hired for North Campus work, that it's illegal to drive a motor vehicle in a bike lane. They're all driving in the bike lanes on Plymouth. Or maybe someone should tell the police that there's easy pickings for truck drivers driving in the bike lanes on Plymouth.


Sun, Aug 19, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

"State law doesn't say you have to stop for pedestrians in mid-block crosswalks (except blind and handicapped). It's the city ordinance 10:148 that says motorists have to yield to pedestrians in mid-block crosswalks, and it only talks about pedestrians." Thank you for setting this important point straight! Many commentators here CLEARLY don't get this.


Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 8:07 p.m.

Bryan, I suggest you read it again. In particular, read that very first clause carefully. "When traffic-control signals are not in place or are not in operation" So where are traffic control signals not in place? Here's a hint, not at signalized intersections - that's what "traffic-control signals" is referring to. So what's left? Sign-controlled intersections, which have a separate law describing what to do, and mid-block crosswalks with neither signals nor signs. Besides, this crash happened at a mid-block crosswalk, hence my point is right on the money. Besides, look again at what you're citing - Uniform Traffic Code is not State Law. It's nothing but a set of recommended ordinances. It doesn't mean anything until a local jurisdiction adopts it, at which point those "rules" become local ordinances. I agree with the "level of confusion over the rules of the road on display in these comments", which you've just demonstrated.

Bryan Ellinger

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 4:08 p.m.

KJMClark, Please read the actual rule from the Michigan UTC: R 28.1702 Rule 702. Pedestrians; right-of-way in crosswalk; violation as civil infraction. (1) When traffic-control signals are not in place or are not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is on the half of the roadway on which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger, but 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. (2) A person who violates this rule is responsible for a civil infraction It says nothing about the location of the crosswalk. State law applies to any marked crosswalk having no (or non-functioning) traffic control devices -- regardless of the proximity of the crosswalk to an intersection. Due to the level of confusion over the rules of the road on display in these comments, it is no wonder that unfortunate accidents like this happen.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 2:19 p.m.

A twist on the state laws, and a twist back. 257.606 says that Ann Arbor can have laws (ordinances) different from state law regulating the operation of bicycles, but if the ordinance is different from an existing state law, the city has to put up signs on the relevant roads/areas indicating the difference. You *might* argue that that means the 257.660c language applies. However, the traffic being regulated here is roadway vehicle traffic. The crosswalk ordinance requires roadway vehicle traffic (motor vehicles and bicycles using the roadway) to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. So it's not regulating the operation of bicycles in the crosswalk. Back to the first side, 257.660c says "rights and responsibilities". Right-of-Way could, pretty easily, be considered a "right". Really, considering the seriousness of the crash, either Ann Arbor (or better yet, the state) should spell out what's supposed to happen in this situation, or the prosecutor should press charges (maybe against both parties) to find out how the courts would decide this. Come to think of it, there's bound to be some caselaw out there about similar crashes. This is similar to a cyclist crossing in a crosswalk at an intersection being hit by a motorist who didn't yield to that crosswalk. Those happen - too frequently - and are another reason to not bike on sidewalks.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 2:09 p.m.

Kea, this was discussed earlier and all the authorities eventually agreed that there is no such state law. Feel free to look it up. Remember that we're talking about a mid-block crosswalk, not a crosswalk at a signalized or signed intersection.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 11:41 p.m.

Actually, state law does say that you have to stop for pedestrians on pedestrian crossings.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:43 p.m.

This is obviously a very dangerous cross walk - signs are hard to see and the speed limit is 45 on a 4 lane+left turn lane road. If nothing else, this needs a Hawk light.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 10:56 p.m.

@Dana Wolford, "HAWK lighting is a high-intensity overhead crosswalk signal that flashes yellow and allows pedestrians to press a button to turn the lights red." From the first link (non-advertising) in the search box (top of the page) under "hawk signal."

Dana Wolford

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:18 p.m.

What's a Hawk light?


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:34 p.m.

Pedestrian?, vehicle?, or vehicle acting as a pedestrian? . . hence the innate complexity (IMHO: futility) of trying to legislate common sense. I can just imagine the "knee-jerkers" on the City Council are, as we write these message, even now convening to draft a new ordinance making it illegal to strike, with a vehicle, a 55-year old riding a bicycle in a pedestrian crosswalk. . . or better yet ban all motorized vehicular traffic within the city limits. Sadly, bad things happen in spite of the government's self righteous attempts to controll and prevent all manner of happenstance.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:35 a.m.

You can't hit a pedestrian or a bicyclist. Really not that complex.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:32 p.m.

Obviously, this is a horrible circumstance. The difficult thing about this particular crosswalk is that it is at the top of a rise, and it is actually quite difficult to see even pedestrians at the curb. The article does not indicate whether the driver was east or westbound, but late afternoon sun absolutely can create additional visual impairment here. I would not use this as a pedestrian myself -- I have witnessed other 'close calls' here. This crossing absolutely requires some kind of signal and/or a pedestrian island.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:31 p.m.

Though I feel for the woman who got hit and hope that she is ok, these crosswalks are the real problem. They provide a false sense of security that "everything will be ok if I cross at a crosswalk", and "I'm so important that I can make hundreds of cars stop, just because I'm too lazy to walk down to the nearest traffic light". People need to realize that cars and trucks have the right of way on a street such as this one, with posted speed limits of 45 mph. If you need to cross the street, cross at a a traffic light when the cars are stopped! This accident happened at the height of the afternoon rush hour, making it absurd to think that one person on a bicycle has the power to stop the flow of hundreds or even thousands of cars doing 45.


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 7:54 a.m.

Yes, they DO, L'chaim! From the Michigan Vehicle Code 257.676b: "(1) A person, without authority, shall not block, obstruct, impede, or otherwise interfere with the normal flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic upon a public street or highway in this state, by means of a barricade, object, or device, or with his or her person.... "(2) A person who violates this section is responsible for a civil infraction." "normal flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic" IS right of way.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 2:46 a.m.

But cars and trucks don't, legally, have the right of way and that's the point. The problem is the lack of signaling which allows motorists to ignore the law, out of laziness, arrogance or simple ignorance (not noticing pedestrians waiting or starting to walk).


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:44 a.m.

No. The nearest stop light is a full half mile in either direction. There is good reason for a cross walk located here. Pedestrians (and apparently bicyclists) just need to exercise some better judgement about when it's safe to cross.

Bill Wilson

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 11:58 p.m.

A2cents, It's also illegal to ride your bike in a pedestrian crosswalk, for obvious reasons.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9 p.m.

People need to realize that cars and trucks have the right of way on a street such as this one, with posted speed limits of 45 mph. not at a x-walk... there is no provision in law for strength of numbers -or- speed cures all ills.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:29 p.m.

"There's no indication of excessive speed there," he said. I would contend that the 45 mph speed limit is excessive for an non-signaled x-walk. Perhaps the limit needs to be raised yet again to further improve safety.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:23 p.m.

1) I thought bicycles had to be walked across roads? 2) Traffic on a 4 lane road going 45 mph is supposed to come to a screeching halt for a bike rider? During rush hour?


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 3:38 p.m.

RE: 2) Says something about the speed limit on that stretch of Washtenaw, doesn't it?


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:36 p.m.

Bill Wilson = Wrong. The 35mph limit applies to "low-speed motor vehicles" as defined in AND


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 2:25 a.m.

@Bill Wilson, I'd like to see some evidence that it's illegal to ride a bike on a rode with a 35 mph or higher speed limit. I'm pretty sure that's bogus.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:48 a.m.

Re:#2, in most cases, it's only a "screeching halt" if you aren't paying attention. In any case, if the alternative is to hit the bike or person, then, yes, that's exactly what you're supposed to do.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 11:51 p.m.

Ron Granger: The "screatching" would typically only happen if the driver is not paying attention. ================ A) Not when the crosswalk is just to one side of a rise / small hill (as is mentioned in the article). B) A couple months ago I hit a goose that was walking across a street because I couldn't see it at all until it popped out from behind an SUV right in front of me (I really thought that SUV was breaking to turn into a side street; turned out it was because he could see the goose). That's a huge problem with having these non-signal-regulated crosswalks on roads that have more than one lane in each direction: when there are SUVs / vans / trucks in the right lane drivers in the left lane often have no hope of being able to see any possible pedestrians. On roads like Pauline, they can work. On roads like Washtenaw or Plymouth, they're tragedies waiting to happen.

Bill Wilson

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 11:05 p.m.

It is illegal to ride a bicycle on the side of any road where the posted speed is 35 mph or higher. If this person rode their bike, they are in violation.

Ron Granger

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:26 p.m.

"However, cyclists must realize the primary function of these highways — and that is to move motor vehicles." No. The primary role of drivers is to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. It is the rule of law. Being in a car does not make someone any more important than anyone else, or somehow above stopping.

Kilgore Trout

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:23 p.m.

Each side can relate numerous tales of criminal motorist or cyclist behavior. However, cyclists must realize the primary function of these highways — and that is to move motor vehicles.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:06 p.m.

Five lanes there

Ron Granger

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:57 p.m.

Having a car does not entitle someone to ignore yielding to pedestrians. The "screatching" would typically only happen if the driver is not paying attention.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:42 p.m.

1) That's not the law, it's what kids are taught to do to ensure they come to a stop before crossing a road and don't try to rush across.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:36 p.m.

Amen to #2, brother


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:23 p.m.

I hope this is not the result of the new pedestrian ordinance.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

Irregardless of any ordinance, pedestrians and bicyclists must be aware that they are vulnerable and must use good judgment when crossing a busy road like Washtenaw. That is the problem with the ordinance, it gets pedestrians thinking that they can safely cross the street, the reality is that, to be safe, one must walk defensively. You don't want to be dead right. Hope the cyclist recovers fully.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

@ms24, while we debate this relatively trivial matter of linguistics, let us not forget that the woman involved was critically injured, apparently by a driver with no malintent. I am sure you would join me in hoping that she recovers quickly and fully, recognizing that it is likely that many others have been traumatized by this tragic accident, including the driver of the automobile. As for irregardless, I don't know what else to tell you other than, just because you don't care for the word (and I don't either), doesn't mean it isn't one. It's been around for 100 years, shows no signs of going away, and is adjudicated as being a word by a well-respected dictionary. It's a word. Get used to it.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 1:23 a.m.

Sorry I'm with Ribs1. So it "originated in dialectal American speech in the early 20th century" because it originated by illiterate speakers. I always understood from my English teachers that this word connotes a lack of education. it developed because so many people mispronounced and misused it. The same thing happens frequently with the phrase: " For all intensive purposes" which is supposed to be " For all intents and purposes". Next we'll be saying that "aks" and "gi - an- tic" are words because they are dialectal variations....sheesh.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 11:03 p.m.

@ribs1, though I do not care for the word, and do not use it myself, irregardless is a word, a synonym for regardless. From Merriam-Webster, , "Irregardless originated in dialectal American speech in the early 20th century. Its fairly widespread use in speech called it to the attention of usage commentators as early as 1927. The most frequently repeated remark about it is that "there is no such word." There is such a word, however. It is still used primarily in speech, ..."


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:47 p.m.

Irregardless is not a word.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:29 p.m.

Makes me think of a saying that my dad taught me... "You don't want to end up dead right." Meaning, as a pedestrian, you have the right of way, and yes traffic should stop for you, but you can't assume it will stop just because you're in the right.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

Another reason why that law is unreasonable. Of course, I hope the woman fully recovers from her injuries, that said, whatever happened to crossing at the intersection and waiting for the walk (or in this case, ride symbol) to light up? It is unreasonable to expect a motorist with a green light, during rush hour on a busy thoroughfare such as Washtenaw to brake 45 to zero at the whim of a pedestrian who can't wait three minutes for a right-of-way symbol? This law clearly endangers, rather than empowers pedestrians, causes rear-end collisions where there would have been none and raises more premium$ for insurance companies that are already criminally gouging motorists.

An Arborigine

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

@Andy, seems the point is that this over-zealous law gives peds a false sense of security, assuming that every motorist will yield right of way to them in any conditions. This is an unreasonable expectation, especially when the speed limit it 45, it is rush hour and every motorist is dealing with other vehicles changing lanes, braking and pulling out from stripmallville.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 3:44 p.m.

@ spj and @A2M3 -- So what happens if a pedestrian (not a cyclist) wants to cross halfway between Huron Parkway or Manchester? Is it any safer to have them attempt to dart through traffic with no markings whatsoever? I think there is a pretty strong argument to upgrade this cross walk to a HAWK.

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 11:10 a.m.

Most of an Ann Arbor's crosswalks are simply there to lure kids into traffic.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:22 p.m.

My bad, I was thinking of Washtenaw/Huron Pkwy intersection. At any rate, on a bike, that intersection or the signal at Manchester/Washtenaw are both a minute thirty second ride away. Is time that important to risk our well-being over 90 seconds?

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:54 p.m.

At this particular stretch of Washtenaw, there are no signaled crosswalks anywhere near this location. I agree that it isn't exactly reasonable to expect a motorist to see pedestrians (or bicyclists) at this particular cross walk but it also isn't reasonable to expect pedestrians to go all the way to the nearest signaled cross walk either. I would suggest adding a signal to this crosswalk as a possible solution.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:51 p.m.

Part of the problem with this intersection is there is no light, just a stop sign. Maybe there shouldn't be a crosswalk there at all.

Richard Carter

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:40 p.m.

From the article, there was no "WALK" signal -- it was a striped, but not otherwise controlled, intersection.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:21 p.m.

People will cross there between the Washtenaw bus stop and rec center. Stopped there once on a motorcycle (risky) for a pedestrian caught in the median. Lady from Arlington turns onto Washtenaw and drives right by us onto Platt - clueless. Kids, don't ride bikes on the city crosswalks. In fact, tell your parents to avoid those stupid A2 stripes in any traffic.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:43 p.m.

I was taught by my parents to walk my bike across the street. Sound like good advice in AA.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:21 p.m.

you said the man did not stop - how do you know he is 25 years old then??


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:09 p.m.

The article stated that he stopped after the incident and got out of his vehicle.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:21 p.m.

Honestly, every time I turn right onto Washtenaw from Platt at that intersection I feel like I'm going to get hit. Terrible visibility.

Ann English

Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:26 a.m.

Terrible visibility from your left? I think the crest of a hill mentioned is referring to westbound traffic on Washtenaw. You have a destination that's on Washtenaw between Platt and Huron Parkway? If it's related to the new construction taking place on the south side of Washtenaw, I understand. Last Sunday, while pumping gas at the BP across from that area, It was surprising to see traffic on Platt coming and going now that those buildings blocking the view are gone. It's been an education this week regarding even gentle slopes on main streets: even the gentle southbound slope on State Street south of I-94 can cause a vehicle and trailer to accelerate. Now the message of even a crest on a gentle slope UP westbound on Washtenaw can hinder visibility for someone not paying attention to the pedestrian sign hanging OVER the crosswalk.

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:20 p.m.

As SEC Fan pointed out, the Michigan Vehicle Code does state bicyclists in pedestrian crosswalks should be treated as pedestrians and have all the rights and responsibilities as pedestrians ( I just spoke with a sergeant at AAPD who said that investigators are still figuring out exactly how to treat this in relation to the ordinance, so it's a little up in the air as it relates to this case on the investigative end.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 3:41 p.m.

Re: "If the police don't know, how the heck are the rest of us supposed to figure it out?" ... Lawyers. In all seriousness, don't ever assume that the police are responsible for knowing the laws. They enforce them as they understand them, but they can (and often do) get it wrong. I don't fault them for not knowing, either.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:27 p.m.

What does the Ann Arbor ordinance say? Anyone got the language?


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 11:50 p.m.

Billy Bob One of the better points mentioned here!

Billy Bob Schwartz

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:41 p.m.

If the police don't know, how the heck are the rest of us supposed to figure it out?


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:14 p.m.

Sadly, it was only a matter of time before something like this would happen


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:45 p.m.

Sadly, it is only a matter of time before something like this happens again.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:11 p.m.

Michigan Vehicle Code (Excerpt) 257.39 "Pedestrian" defined. Sec. 39. "Pedestrian" means any person afoot.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:10 p.m.

FYI: per Michigan Vehicle Code, bicyclists in crosswalk are considered the same as pedestrians (#3): 257.660c Operation of bicycle upon sidewalk or pedestrian crosswalk. Sec. 660c. (1) An individual operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a pedestrian crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian. (2) An individual shall not operate a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a pedestrian crosswalk if that operation is prohibited by an official traffic control device. (3) An individual lawfully operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a pedestrian crosswalk has all of the rights and responsibilities applicable to a pedestrian using that sidewalk or crosswalk.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:27 p.m.

We may also need the Ann Arbor statute, which is stricter than the state one. But: "audible signal"? Really?


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 11:57 p.m.

@ferdcom, having the RIGHTS of a pedestrian is not the same thing as BEING a pedestrian. Does that clarify it for you?


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:06 p.m.

So a person on a bicycle has "all the rights of a pedestrian" but "shall yield the right-of way to pedestrians". Therefore all persons on a bicycle shall yield the right of way to all other persons on bicycles. I'm confused.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

Good info. That Platt road crossing is not at the busy intersection where Huron Parkway, is which often confused at Platt. The crossing in the photo shows the stretch of Washtenaw Ave where motor vehicles can go unimpeeded. It is not a crossing I would attempt at 5:45 PM unless I am willing for a long wait.

Ghost of Tom Joad

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:20 p.m.

thanks for the info. it's odd that a bicyclist is both a pedestrian and a vehicle at the same time. This would seem to lend itself to the complications that arise between bicyclists and everyone else on the road/sidewalks who have to dodge them.

Ghost of Tom Joad

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:06 p.m.

I don't think this person can be considered a pedestrian if they were on their bike.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 2:37 a.m.

And they were crossing traffic in a crosswalk as opposed to riding with traffic, as a vehicle does.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:31 a.m.

State law says otherwise. And you can't hit them, regardless.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 6:53 p.m.

Does a person on a bike count as a "pedestrian"? I thought they were counted as a vehicle.

Adam Schubatis

Thu, Aug 16, 2012 : 5:31 a.m.

I'm no lawyer, but here's my interpretation of the law: When operating a bicycle on a roadway, the rider has all of the rights and responsibilities of any other driver (MCL 257.657). Theses rights and responsibilities also extend to bicycles operated on bicycle paths (MCL 257.656(3)). However, riders may choose to operate a bicycle on a pedestrian sidewalk unless there are posted signs prohibiting riding on the sidewalk (MCL 257.660c(2)). When riding on a sidewalk or through a crosswalk, riders have all of the rights and responsibilities of a pedestrian (MCL 257.660c(3)). I was unable to find a law addressing how frequently a rider may switch between acting as a driver and acting as a pedestrian. In this case, it appears the rider was operating her bicycle as a pedestrian. Therefore she was legally entitled to the right-of-way at the crosswalk. However a bicycle rider is not always entitled to be treated as a pedestrian when interacting with motor vehicles. Link to MCL 257:


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 6:26 p.m.

Sorry, but you're all wrong. Like I said - as far as motor vehicles are concerned - bicycles are pedestrians in all circumstances. Motorists must ALWAYS give cyclists the same right-of-way that pedestrians are entitled to. It doesn't matter that Michigan law requires that cyclists operate their bikes as vehicles in most situations - when it comes to vehicle/bicycle interactions, the bicycle is ALWAYS treated as a pedestrian. No exceptions, ifs, ands, or buts!


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:34 p.m.

Zeeba, "Ann Arbor and Michigan laws classify bicycles as vehicles and requires them to follow the rules of the road. Don't swerve in traffic or between parked cars, obey all traffic signals, and ride in the direction of traffic. It's the law, and it will keep you safe"


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:25 p.m.

zeeba, that's not true. Michigan's laws treat cyclists as vehicles in some cases. They are, for example, required to come to a full stop at Stop signs. If you don't know that, you should read up on it if you're going to operate a bicycle in Michigan.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 11:09 p.m.

Zeeba, you obviously have never been to a foreign country. Sure, bicyclists in other countries have rights, but they also have responsibilities (to which the adhere to). Familiarize yourself with the laws regarding bikes. Then sit on a street corner in a2 and watch the bicyclists. 9 out of 10 break one law or another. I seethem every day and 9 out of 10 is not an exaggeration.

Dhurandar Bhatavdekar

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 9:30 p.m.

@zeeba Many, if not most bicyclists continuously flip through their operating modes and mindsets. One second they become vehicles and expect to be treated as such; the next moment they ride across a red light if there is no cross traffic in a heartbeat. Can a car do that, look left-right, and drive across a red light? Like driving, riding is also a privilege, and rights and responsibilities should go together. Every time we drive in town during the summer, our hearts are in our mouths because of dual-intent bicyclists and their unpredictability. Having said that, when I ride a bike on the ROAD, I always STOP at a red light, much to the amusement of other cyclists who zip by wondering why am I stopped. So the BIGGER and MIGHTIER vehicle is not always at fault. There are good and bad drivers, and there are good and bad bicyclists as well.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:35 p.m.

Cyclists ARE pedestrians as far as motor vehicles are concerned - always, everywhere and without exception. It's this type of ignorance that leads to a lot of accidents and many of the lesser problems cyclists put up with.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 6:52 p.m.

Serious question: for purposes of the crosswalk ordinance, are cyclists who are riding their bikes legally pedestrians?


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:33 p.m.

L'Chaim The only reason I mention it is because I have a co-worker who was also hit while riding a bike in Ann Arbor and because he pulled in front of the car, in a similar situation, he was actually the one who received a ticket. Just briefly looking at the I found this, "Ann Arbor and Michigan laws classify bicycles as vehicles and requires them to follow the rules of the road. Don't swerve in traffic or between parked cars, obey all traffic signals, and ride in the direction of traffic. It's the law, and it will keep you safe." More applicable is this part: "Cyclists are often safer on the road than on the sidewalk because cyclists are more easily visible in the road, where drivers typically scan for oncoming traffic. It is important to take care in places where sidewalks and roads meet, like crosswalks, intersections, and driveways. If a cyclist does not feel comfortable in the road and chooses to ride on the sidewalk, consider yourself a guest in the pedestrian space. Ride slowly, announce your presence to pedestrians who may not see you, walk your bike on crowded sidewalks, yield to pedestrians, stop or dismount before entering crosswalks, and watch for drivers who may not be watching for you!" I tried scanning Michigan law on the matter and I couldn't find anything more than this; specifically about crosswalks because I think that's the key here. It still makes me believe that if you're riding a bike in the road, no matter if you're in a crosswalk or not, you're considered a vehicle. I'd be interested to see an article by going into bike law like this. I think it's something that most people just don't know about (myself included). Again, I wish both parties involved the best and I'd like to see more information out there about this kind of stuff to prevent exactly these kinds of situations.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 2:34 a.m.

Just off the top of my head and without checking the ordinance, I believe that bikers are ADVISED to walk their bikes though the cross-walk, but not disallowed from riding, and thereby considered practically pedestrians.


Wed, Aug 15, 2012 : 12:43 a.m.

I was going to type the exact same thing. I was always taught that you had to walk your bike across cross-walks for this exact reason. A person has time to react to a slowly moving pedestrian crossing the road but a biker riding a bike across the road is a completely different situation. I've almost hit someone because of that before. And if I'm not mistaken, if it turns out that she did ride her bike in the road like that she may even be at fault for the accident because she was on a vehicle. I do hope that everything turns out OK for all parties involved.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 7:16 p.m.

I was wondering the same thing. Washtenaw is NOT a bike-friendly road, and there is the big pathway on the south side. So taking the sidewalk/path and then crossing in the crosswalk makes sense from a biking perspective. However! one thing is for sure, you don't assume that cars will stop.. ever. Hope the cyclist recovers quickly.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 6:56 p.m.

(Note that I am asking because you mentioned the ordinance. Since you did that, I am curious whether it actually applies here or whether it's mentioned simply because the incident happened at a crosswalk so it's a related topic.)