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Posted on Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Close call with pedestrians made me think: 'I could have killed those 2 people'

By Paula Gardner

I didn’t expect a routine trip to Meijer to turn into a near-miss crash involving a pair of pedestrians, but that’s exactly what happened to me last Saturday as I headed north on Carpenter Road.

The traffic was fairly thick, the 6 p.m. skies plenty dark. My distractions were few: No phone ringing, no urge to change the radio station, no need to consider anything beyond getting home and getting my purchases stowed away before dinner.

And suddenly two people were approaching the yellow line of my lane as they tried to cross the five-line road.

I swerved slightly to the right of the lane. The man - I don’t even know the gender of the second person - raised his hand as if in apology and stepped back. I watched in the rearview mirror as the car behind me approached at my speed, and then I saw more cars coming southbound - and I can only assume that somehow, those two people ended up safe.

I spent the rest of the drive home thinking to myself, “I could have killed those two people.”

And as a result, I’m here to tell you: Pedestrians cannot assume that drivers see them.

The incident struck me on many levels, fueled largely by the recent spate of stories about pedestrian fatalities in the Ann Arbor area.

It feels like an epidemic right now, though reporters at are still trying to determine whether there’s a random clustering of incidents.

Either way, these crashes are devastating to more than their victims. Families, drivers and witnesses all suffer trauma from these incidents.

I can’t speak personally to any of that, and I’m grateful that I can say that.

But I also went through a range of emotion that night, from fear that I could have destroyed two lives to anger that the people who nearly stepped in front of my minivan that night were not at a crosswalk, not under a streetlight and wearing dark clothing.

Those people were invisible to me. Yet they could have been hurt or killed by the vehicle I was driving.

Days later, I spoke to Deputy Chief Gordy Schick of the Pittsfield Township Police, the agency that would have been called to the scene had there been an accident.

His officers investigate a few fatal pedestrian crashes every year, he said, including one earlier this month on Golfside.

The stories of who’s involved and what’s happened will change, but their process is always the same.

“We always look at the actual scene itself. We see if alcohol is involved, if they were wearing dark clothing, … if headlights were on.” Other factors can be rain or snow and whether the driver had the ability to see the pedestrian.

The accident investigation tries to determine what happened.

“It’s not always a clear-cut case until we can determine all of the facts,” he said.

That was a relief to me as a driver that had a close brush with catastrophe, since I left the scene wondering whether - even with all of the factors that left me scared and angry - I still could have ended up in the legal system had something happened.

I’ve already watched our coverage of crosswalk accidents raise awareness in Ann Arbor of the dangers pedestrians and drivers can face if they’re not paying attention to what’s happening on the roads.

But this isn’t just about crosswalks. It’s about the need to use them. To know that someone dressed in black or navy has little nighttime visibility.

And to know that drivers - from the best ones with no distractions to the ones who shouldn’t be on the road at all - don’t want to hit you. But they might. And they might not be able to help it.

“We can provide all of the safety mechanisms in the world, “ Schick said, “but unless people use it, they can put themselves at risk.”

Paula Gardner is Community News Director of She can be reached by email or 734 623 2586. Follow her on Twitter.



Mon, Dec 3, 2012 : 2:31 p.m.

Poor economy, less money for busses, taxis, gas, and cars. More people are walking and biking because it's healthier and greener too. It is not surprising. New construction in our town used to consistently require sidewalks. Not so much any more. If the City is going to support pedestrian and cyclist traffic, then it should do so consistently. Difficulties are created when assumptions are made that there is no need to accommodate pedestrian and cyclist traffic to new establishments, especially in "fringe districts". You never knw when a destination like Whole Foods on Washtenaw will become overwhelmingly popular. Stupidity is the one neighbor in my neighborhood that had the raised crosswalk in our neighborhood torn out. Yes, all of us need to be more careful - everyone alike. Drivers need to stop being afraid of the pressure of surrounding traffic, and to drive at safer speeds and stopping or slowing down when we see potential hazards. Pedestrians need to seek to cross at intersections and crosswalks, even if it means walking a bit further. Cyclists in the road need to follow the rules of the road consistently, not just when it's convenient. Thanks for raising awareness.


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

This has just happened to me yesterday!!! In the evening, dark and small street, one lane for each direction, but HAS SIDEWALK. A man in dark clothes was running along with the traffic on the street, NOT on the sidewalk, NOT facing the traffic. By the time my headlight shone on him and I got startled and started swerving away, my car was 5 yards from him. Please everyone, be careful and serious about traffic safety.


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 1:49 p.m.

My mom sent me a incredibly uncool blinky red light to pin onto myself when I'm walking in the dark/fog. I'm 26 and kind of thought she was insane, and then these articles started popping up. Turns out my mom is awesome.

Tom Teague

Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 6:31 p.m.

Good for you for wearing it. Be sure to tell your mom that you do!


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 5:11 a.m.

While traveling on Plymouth Road today, one of the cross walks had the light flashing and there was no pedestrian in sight, of course each car that came to that crosswalk stopped due to the flashing light and then proceeded. The very next crosswalk had no flashing lights but the pedestrian had one foot in the road when I saw him and stopped. The car in the middle lane didn't see him as my car was blocking his view of the side of the road. I honked at the walker to get him to stop walking.After 2 cars went by, the 3rd car stopped and the man crossed. There's really a lot of confusion out there!


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 1:08 p.m.

I had the opposite problem on Plymouth Road this morning. It was 7 am (ie - still dark and a little bit foggy this morning) and I was driving east. I was passing the Orchard Hills sub when I saw something up ahead in the road. It wasn't until I got closer that I noticed it was a pedestrian crossing south to north (wearing a black coat) in the cross-walk without triggering the crossing lights. Thankfully I slowed down and the pedestrian made it to the island in the middle lane. However, the pedestrian still had two lanes to cross in the dark. I have no problem stopping with the alert lights, but when pedestrians completely disregard and do not use them, it's just plain stupid.

Phyllis Rector

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 10:04 p.m.

On campus, this is especially true. Students walk out in front of cars and assume people see them. The university needs to stress to students that people cannot see them at night. It is VERY dangerous to assume.

John of Saline

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

Oh, and I once had to avoid a pedestrian on the Stone School overpass over I-94. You know, the overpass with a parallel pedestrian bridge? Bizarre!

Pamela LaForest Fulcher

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

those that walk next to the pedestrian bridge probably just don't know what 'pedestrian' means...

John of Saline

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 7:18 p.m.

There are pedestrian bridges in other communities. Here's one in Livonia:,Livonia,+MI&cid=0,0,13467768513198466453&ll=42.43564,-83.336379&spn=0.002091,0.003736&t=h&z=19&vpsrc=6 And two more in Plymouth:,-83.336379&sspn=0.002091,0.003736&vpsrc=6&t=h&gl=us&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=S+Sheldon+Rd,+Plymouth,+Michigan+48170&ll=42.371648,-83.480062&spn=0.00148,0.003736&z=19 Those are associated with schools, but I see no reason why certain corners in the Ann Arbor area, where pedestrian crossing is inadvisable/illegal but common, couldn't get these.

John of Saline

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 9:16 p.m.

Ramps for the bridges? We have a school of architecture and urban design. Give them the problem and let them work on it.

Pamela LaForest Fulcher

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 8:24 p.m.

pedestrian bridges are going the way of the Dodo- I think mainly in part due to disability issues- how do you use a bridge when you are in wheelchair or are not able to climb stairs? I remember bridges all over when I was younger- I hardly ever see one, now.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 6:55 p.m.

The police need to crack down on drivers. Get out of your gas guzzlers , take a walk and observe any intersection. Most cars roll through stop signs and /or cross the stop bar before halting.Illegal right turns on red are common ( especially at Maple and Jackson Ave.) When making right turns on red signals, many motorists only look to their left. A high percentage of drivers are on their phones or texting. Take a survey and I'm sure you'll find that the ratio of lawbreaking by motorists to non-motorists greatly lopsided. Furthermore , the careless walker/biker only endangers himself, the motor vehicle can kill an innocent citizen. I had to jump out of the way while legally crossing in a crosswalk ( Main and Depot .) A turning cell phone talking pickup driver yelled at me at the corner of State and Packard. He claimed that I had the red light. He was wrong. If he hadn't been distracted by his phone, perhaps he would have seen that I had the " walk" sign. Drivers need to be more careful and observe traffic laws.


Wed, Nov 21, 2012 : 3:51 a.m.

Back when I ran marathons this would happen to me all the time on training runs, motorists don't look, motorists do not come to a complete stop at stop signs. motorists don't stop on the stop line, motorists "roll" Right on Red. Consequently, I always assumed all drivers are distracted which allowed me to avoid quite a few mishaps.

Pamela LaForest Fulcher

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 4:25 p.m.

Everybody needs to pay more attention on the roads. Doesn't matter if you are walking, riding a bike or driving a car. People tend to get too distracted-again, doesn't matter if you walking, riding or driving. I will have to agree that the pedestrians that walk out in the middle of the road when there is a crosswalk just 20 ft further is ridiculous. Happens constantly in Ann Arbor/Ypsi area. Been several deaths along Michigan Ave in Ypsi for people just walking across the street wherever they feel like it. I myself never cross without looking both ways-which we learned in KIndergarten when we were little even at a crosswalk. In my opinion- pedestrians that are careless/wreckless should be ticketed more often like drivers are. Just because you are a pedestrian doesn't mean you aren't going to get severly or fatally injured when a car hits you- no matter who is at fault.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 2:39 p.m.

I know just how this writer feels. Recently while driving on a gravel road at 8:30 PM . I had just put my lights back on high beam and 2 people walking with full camo gear on showed up walking side by side on the roadway. No light or any reflective clothing. If I hadn't just put my lights back on brights after meeting a car, or if the car coming the other way had been a few seconds later who knows what would have happened. It made me mad to think I almost hit them in their carelessness.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 1:56 p.m.

I haven't taken the time to read all of these comments but I would like to say that it is time that more tickets were being given out for jaywalking and bicycles blatant disregard for the traffic rules. Police are constantly on the move and if they aren't on a case, perhaps they could do some enforcement of these laws we already have. When was the last time you saw a bicycle stop at a stop sign?


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 10:15 p.m.

"When was the last time you saw a bicycle stop at a stop sign?" This morning. I saw a cyclist stop at a stop sign and two red lights. Behind the stop lines in each case, *and* signaling for turns, stops, and lane changes! And the cyclist waited for both red lights! Of course, I bike like that every day, so whatever.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 3:41 p.m.

For every pedestrian/bicyclist law breaker there are a thousand driver's blatantly breaking traffic laws. Get out of your car and take a walk. You'll see that most cars do not make legal stops at intersections.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 12:44 p.m.

Here lies the body of John O'Day Who died maintaining his right of way He was right, dead right, as he sailed along But he's just as dead as if he were wrong.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 12:27 p.m.

This morning, at 6:20 I was going down Wagner road. It was incredibly foggy, and I was going about 35. There was a bicycle rider in the bike lane - dark pants, dark jacket, dark hat, no lights, with only the reflectors from the back of his pedals giving any indication he was there. I was almost next to him before I realized he was there. And I was driving slowly and looking around carefully, more than normal, because of the fog. The additions of bike lines are a good thing to make our community more bike-friendly, but bike riders have a responsibility, too. Can we have police ticket bicyclists that are not appropriately dressed or who do not appropriately make themselves visible at night? If a car drove without headlights, the driver would get a ticket. How about some rules for bike riders, now that they are often found on open roads like Wagner in the new bike lanes, a foot or two away from 45 mph traffic?

Pamela LaForest Fulcher

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 4:31 p.m.

I completely agree with you- some bikers get angry and say that they have a right to be on the road, too- well, then act responsible. You do not need to ride your bike down the MIDDLE of Ellsworth causing traffic to go 20 mph at rush hour. Get to the side in the BIKE LANE- that is what it is for. Do bikers have to pay fees every year like drivers? If not, then they should. If they have a right to share the road- then they can share the fees. I do commend those that ride bikes responsibly- but those that think that are better than you because they are not polluting the air and ego tripping need to give it a rest. Michigan is the home of THE MOTOR CITY!


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 12:24 p.m.

Only in Ann Arbor do we defend and offer excuses for pedestrians and bike riders doing unsafe and boneheaded things. Unbelievable!


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 11:46 a.m.

It's funny how many people think an Ann Arbor ordinance, very similar to the one in Pittsfield Twp, BTW, means that anything that happens in the county is Ann Arbor's fault. The problem here is lack of crosswalks, mostly. Paula, if they were approaching the yellow line for your lane, and you swerved to the right to avoid them, and it's the five-lane cross-section near Meijer on Carpenter, then they were in the center left turn lane, right? How did you miss something in the center turn lane, immediately to your left? What every driver must know says you should have been doing a better job of scanning the roadway. Maybe you should slow down a bit more. I appreciate your missing the pedestrians, and I agree that they need brighter clothing (and we need more crosswalks in Michigan), but dark, and lots of traffic are two situations where "What Every Michigan Driver Must Know" says you should slow down. Speed limits are the *maximum* legal speed under good, dry, daylight conditions. We're all supposed to drive more slowly under other conditions.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 10:19 p.m.

That makes a lot of sense. They would have been outside (to the left) of our lights until about the time they got to the middle of the left turn lane. And them misjudging your speed makes sense too. It's devilishly hard to judge speeds of accelerating or decelerating cars, particularly at night without other easy landmarks. So sounds like you did great - good job, and avoided a crash. Thanks for being a safe driver!

Paula Gardner

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

I actually kept asking myself the same questions after it happened, both while I'm on that stretch of road and others that are similar. Those people weren't stationary in the turn lane - I believe they were running for it, then suddenly stopped as they realized cars were approaching. I also was still accelerating, along with other drivers, from the stop light located near the strip center with Starbucks. They may have misjudged our speed. I also notice that, at night, when there are few streetlights but approaching cars still a distance away, i get a little glare in the corner of my windshield. Not sure if that's a universal issue or a design issue with my minivan (the glass is actually clean!). That's how I believe I missed the movement of them coming into the lane.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 10:24 a.m.

Ann Arbor. The city that values art over anything else. An accident waiting to happen! Go figure!

Attempted Voice of Reason

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 6:04 a.m.

A note to everybody driving (including Paula): A lot of times, pedestrians cross everywhere, and use the left turn lane as a sort of refuge island, even if it isn't marked as such, and isn't a crosswalk. I'm not going to defend that practice, but just mention it so everybody is aware. I think that's what happened here. Because of that, I never, ever assume a left turn lane is clear unless I can clearly see nobody is there. I recommend that all drivers be very vigilant when entering left turn lanes because of that fairly common pedestrian practice.

Paula Gardner

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 12:33 p.m.

That's so true. I've done it myself while trying to reach Arborland from my neighborhood. I'm totally rethinking that practice!


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 3:58 a.m.

jhocque sounds like a problem walker or biker--might need an attitude adjustment. a2nancy


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 3:56 a.m.

Good story Paula, A simple lesson for all of us. Pay extra attention both motorist and pedestrian and we can all get home safe and sound.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 3:35 a.m.

tell that to u of m students. "oh, i'm too important to get run over, i'm just going to walk in front of your car, even when there is a clearly marked crosswalk 20 feet away."


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 3:23 a.m.

It seems like equation for a post in this thread is as follows: "Hello! I'm someone who primarily drives. I have the privilege of mostly moving about via car. I have limited real world experience with self powered transportation but MAN, I have lots opinions about it. I know I would be SO much smarter than all those stupid pedestrians" ---> "One time I almost hit a pedestrian" ---> "it was totally their fault. Here is some actual solid evidence for why they were being dangerous (they didn't use a crosswalk, they stepped into traffic without looking)" ----> "let me diverge from this anecdote about a person acting dangerously and make some unfounded assumptions. See, they must be stupid/suicidal/earbud wearing/latte drinking/never learned "common sense"/influenced by the crosswalk law" ---> "the crosswalk law has made gibbering idiots out of all pedestrians, and why doesn't everyone walk around wearing reflective stripes all the time. when I was 2 years old my dad taught me to look and listen to cars, which is CLEARLY going to prevent EVERY SINGLE ACCIDENT when dealing with high speed/multi-lane traffic, a small but concerning portion of which acts aggressively and dangerously towards cyclists and pedestrians"


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 3:03 p.m.

Obviously, no. Looking & listening will not prevent "EVERY SINGLE ACCIDENT" when dealing with high speed/multi-lane traffic. But it sure is a start. Being aware of one's own environment is the LEAST any one of us could & should do. Since the incidents to the contrary are alarmingly HIGH, due to distractions, arrogance, ignorance,'s worth pointing out. When I was a child, and almost stepped right into traffic, my dad yanked me back and scolded me for not paying attention. That stuck with me, and has served me incredibly well---even in this "war zone" called Ann Arbor. Remain alert, remain alive. Alternatively: remain alert, save money by not dealing with traffic violations & potential court costs, and years of therapy. Locking your doors will not prevent theft or assault EVERY SINGLE time, but it's a start. Using an umbrella in the rain will not keep you from getting wet EVERY SINGLE TIME, but it's a start. Taking vitamins, eating right & washing your hands will not keep you from getting sick EVERY SINGLE TIME, but it's a start. Nothing is guaranteed EVERY SINGLE TIME. But some precautions are worth taking.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 3:15 a.m.

I see this happening any evening as it gets dark, and I have the same thoughts that you expressed. These pedestrians and bikers will cross any place, any time. What is the law about bikers having reflective gear? a2nancy


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 2:53 p.m.

I'd rather see violators get a ticket, just as a car would for not having working headlights/taillights. Since its on the books and all...


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 11:50 a.m.

MCL 257.662 "(1) A bicycle or an electric personal assistive mobility device being operated on a roadway between 1/2 hour after sunset and 1/2 hour before sunrise shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and with a red reflector on the rear which shall be visible from all distances from 100 feet to 600 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of head lamps on a motor vehicle. A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector." That's what the law says is required. If you don't see them with that equipment, you're supposed to slow down to a speed at which you could see them.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 2:25 a.m.

Once again, bring me back to the horse and buggy days. I think I would fit in well during those times.

Pamela LaForest Fulcher

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 6:35 p.m.

yeah- but people would complain about the horse dooky


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 11:58 a.m.

Four Amish youths have been arrested on alcohol-possession charges in western New York state after colliding with a sheriff's patrol car that was responding to a report of underage drinking, The Buffalo News reports. Chautauqua County deputies say several containers of alcoholic beverages were found in two buggies, including the one that flipped. A passenger in the buggy suffered minor injuries. Deputies say other buggies fled the scene, The News reports. The buggy was hit after two of the vehicles switched lanes as the patrol car approached, the Erie Times-News reports. The 20-year-old driver of the overturned buggy was charged with unlawfully dealing with a child. Deputies say he had allegedly been hosting the illegal drinking party, the Times-News says.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 2:15 a.m.

"[D]rivers... don't want to hit you. But they might. And they might not be able to help it." I agree with your sentiment, but "they" could help it if there were more opportunities to walk to their daily needs and not drive a car in the first place. More neighborhood places to shop = less need for driving = less need for 5-lane monstrosities. But hey, it seems that the Rs in town will do anything to prohibit making roads safer for all users.

Pamela LaForest Fulcher

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 8:20 p.m.

who are the 'R's'- what does that mean? I'm guessing that means republicans considering your name? Which doesn't quite make sense. So we should be forced to walk places rather than drive? No, thanks- how about everyone just pay attention-pedestrians, drivers, and cyclists alike? Wouldn't that be easier and more practical?

Derek Mehraban

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 1:50 a.m.

I live close to Ann Arbor Saline, where that pedestrian was killed a week or so ago. I can say that street has no streetlights, and you can't see anything or anybody who is walking across that road. I feel that area needs better lighting between Scio Church and Eisenhower. And we need some specific cross walks. I like the kind on Huron by the YMCA where if someone needs to cross they push the button and the light goes red. People drive 60+ on that stretch of road, and in the pitch black or even the light of day it's dangerous to cross.

Basic Bob

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 2:47 a.m.

Bearing that in mind, would you walk to the intersections to cross or take your life in your hands attempting a dangerous mid-block crossing?


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 7:29 p.m.

Two words can solve this issue for both pedestrian and driver. Common Sense!


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 6:59 p.m.

Great article, Paula. Thanks.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 6:31 p.m.

we could go deeper here. parents are not teaching their children good survival skills and to use common sense for self-preservation, as most parents in the animal kingdom would do. In the wild world if you stepped out in front of a lion you could be dinner (dead), the dumb animal would be unable to reproduce. It is best to look out for things that could kill you. It is an expectation that you can legislate and regulate other peoples behaviors to "protect" yours. This actually is dumbing down society. You can't expect all laws will protect you just because they are on the books. Look both ways and cross when it is safe to do so, even if you have the right of way. When I was little I was taught to look both ways and cross when it was safe to do so and not to play chicken in the road. IF I had not followed my parents rules (self-responsibility) I would have gotten spanked in public for not paying attention, almost causing an accident and embarrassing my parents lest someone else think they were not doing their duty as parents to parent.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 6:18 p.m.

Paula, I never but never assume that drivers can see me. If anything, I usually assume the direct opposite, that they can't see me because they're too busy changing the radio station/talking to the kids in the back seat/texting, and I will wait for however long it takes for the road to be clear in both directions. I agree that there are careless pedestrians, I've seen them and they really irritate me because they give those of us who use the "shoe-leather express" who ARE cautious a bad reputation. I've had a few close calls myself. I have 3 daughters and 2 grandkids who I would really like to see grow up. people, hang up and drive!!!!


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 5:49 p.m.

Paula, I too have had similar "close calls" with pedestrians lately. I am also a careful undistracted driver. Everytime it has been around dusk or in the dark and a pedestrian was not in a crosswalk or under a light or holding a light and wearing dark clothing. Sevearl instances were bicyclists without reflective gear riding in the dark wearing dark clothing. Several instances were downtown either when the street lights were not yet on or rotation of darkness, about to turn from a parking lot while a bike wizzed by like some phantom shadow (also blocked from view by on street parking). Crossing 5 lanes of traffic in the dark is not just stupid it is suicide. People need to put a reflector on it. People need to use the crosswalks and not be so lazy that they can't walk ten or twenty feet to the nearest one. Jaywalking should be ticketed especially downtown and around campus. If a cop sees a bicyclist in the dark without reflective gear that person should get a ticket as well.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 5:43 p.m.

I almost hit a pedestrian after those two incidents also. I was turning right onto Stadium from Jackson, I had a green arrow, the walkway across Stadium was red and a bicyclist decided to cross the road. I saw him and slammed on my brakes. But he waved at kinda saying he was sorry, it was his fault. I do not want to be another person to hit another pedestrian and have it blamed on me cause I am the driver. I was NOT distracted one bit, he just thought he could go.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 8:41 a.m.

I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me. I was turning onto East Huron River Drive from Dixboro Rd and I had a red light but no one was turning (from the opposite direction) and the pedestrian had a red light and the bicyclist stopped. We made eye contact. He paused. I started to turn and then he went too and I had to slam on my breaks. The other day a cyclist decided to bike through all the stopped cars on Huron River Drive by Barnes and Nobel. I nearly hit him as I came up to the intersection. What was so wrong with biking up a few feet and using the light like a NORMAL person. But no, it's faster to cut though cars and cross the street the WRONG way. Idiot.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 4 a.m.

Thank you for your patience both @Kara and @Basic Bob

Basic Bob

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 2:51 a.m.

Yes, I had a cyclist cross in the crosswalk before dawn against a protected left turn arrow. He was quite annoyed that I would try to turn into him when his light was solid red.

Robert Granville

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 5:16 p.m.

Nothing has changed in Ann Arbor. The law isn't making pedestrians less likely to value their lives. Legislation cannot change one's internal drive to live. People have short memory and are completely incapable of assessing trends without laying hard data in front of them. This isn't an epidemic. I wonder how many to use that term know it's definition?


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 1:53 p.m.

Yes, things have changed...people are much more distracted than ever...mostly by the cell phones and mp3 players, not to mention the increased amount of traffic here.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 5:12 p.m.

If Mr. Spock were to visit Ann Arbor, he would find it highly illogical for local law makers to expect a driver operating a motor vehicle at 30 to 45 mph on a five lane road to stop for a pedestrian approaching a crosswalk, particularly if the pedestrian is obscured by other traffic. It violates the laws of physics for a 4,000 lb car traveling at 45 mph to stop for a pedestrian weighing 140 lbs traveling at 2 mph. Yet, the situation is much worse. In reality, we have many impaired drivers, who legally smoke medical marijuahana three times daily, have a few drinks, get behind the wheel of a 7,000 lb SUV or truck, exceed the speed limit by five or ten miles per hour, and expect them to stop for a sleep deprived impaired cyclist dressed in black who is riding his bike off the sidewalk into a crosswalk. Highly illogical law. Needs to be changed. We can get more logical government, please vote your incumbent local officials off city council. We don't need a visit from the Starship Enterprise to behave more logically. Just put red stop lights at pedestrian cross walks if we want cars to stop, otherwise, pedestrians can wait or go to stop walks that have signals to protect them and the drivers.

Robert Granville

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.

Blame the marijuana.... it's always at fault..... /sarcasm.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

Similar thing happened to me...but I got the pedestrian with my door.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 4:18 p.m.

Last night I was driving home, toward town on Pontiac Trail, when I almost hit an invisible pedestrian, dark clothes, walking across a crosswalk hidden by a little hill in the road, the person didn't look up and it was so close that I had to swerve into the oncoming lane. In my rear view mirror I could see the person didn't even notice. Whatever happened to "Wear White at Night"?


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

Thats scary!!.. He probably had earbuds in and never heard anything.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 4:07 p.m.

I have lost count of the number of times I have almost been run over by a driver turning at an intersection in the broad daylight. I find it interesting that we are blaming the victims here and assuming every incident happens when a pedestrian is breaking the law, it is dark, and bright enough colors were not worn. These problems are not that simple. And please for the sake of every single person almost run over or run over when crossing at an intersection with the walk light, LOOK BEFORE YOU MAKE YOUR TURN! Both when the light is green and when making a legal turn on red.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 8:34 a.m.

I think Paula was stating about the incidences when a pedestrian is crossing in the middle of a road far from a cross walk. Places where a person shoudl NOT be and if they have to be they should take precautions like wearing light color clothes and reflectors and looking where they are going.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 12:22 a.m.

If I am turning right on red the pedestrian does NOT have the right to be crossing! The little red/orange hand is up!


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 5:05 p.m.

I know this is a little different issue then the others, but.... I agree, i think drivers have forgotten that they have to wait for crossing peds. when they are turning. Hamilton turning onto eastbound michigan ave in Ypsi, is horrible for this. Ive had people lay on the horn trying to get me to turn while I'm waiting for people to cross. IMPATIENCE SEEMS TO BE RAMPANT.. give yourself an extra 5 min. people


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

There is a simple concept that I was taught at the age of 5. I am about to be 50. This has worked for me without incident my whole life. If the driver, pedestrian, or bicylist do not, or unable to make eye contact with each other (the unable part would be after dark or inclement weather) do not assume anything. As a driver, pedestrian, and a bicyclist unless I am sure the challenging vehicle, pedestrian, or bicyclist has seen me I proceed as if they have not. If you step out in to a roadway without looking both ways, you can scream to your hearts content that you had the right of way, as your broken or dead body is removed from the scene. As a driver I am not expecting this to happen unless it is at a cross walk. It is not going to change anything after the fact. Wallking around without your eyes moving or being unaware of your surroundings is dangerous in more ways then one. Never assume a 2000 pound hunk of metal coming at you doing even 30 mph is going to stop or waive the right of way to you. They may not even know you are there.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 3:49 p.m.

Another very dangerous situation that pedestrians and bicyclists put themselves into involves hills on country roads. I frequently take my three dogs on rides around the country roads. They love it. I drive around 25 miles per hour when most people are at work. Many times I have come over a hill and found walkers, joggers or bikes in my lane. Luckily, since I am going so slow it has not been a tragic situation. But I often see people going the full 55 mile and house speed limit out there too..usually full sized pickups. I urge people to be aware of how dangerous this can be for you.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 1:49 p.m.

My point is, for their own safety I believe they should be walking or riding WITH traffic, not against it while going up a hill. If someone is coming over that hill fast enough they will get hit.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 5:25 a.m.

Country roads often have no shoulder and high speed limits. If we stay to the far right, then cars will try to pass even when a car in coming from the other direction. When there's hills and the roads meander, it's hard to see too far ahead. So when it' dangerous to pass, we take the lane as a safeguard. It forces cars to slow down and wait of a safe time to pass. I, and many like me, wave at the cars as a thanks/ sorry for slowing them down.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 1:43 a.m.

Snark - if the road has a shoulder, the biker should be on the shoulder, if not, he should be to the very right of the lane. There is never a situation where a biker should be riding in the middle of a lane, ever, especially on hilly dirt roads where the speed limit is 55 mph.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 6:38 p.m.

PS It's not just your lane, it's their lane, too.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 6:37 p.m.

Where do you expect bikers to be on a country road? The ditch?


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 3:41 p.m.

Learning how to cross a street was perhaps the first "right of passage" in life, that is being unlearned now, lost. How sad and irresponsible. "Stop, look and listen" remeber that? Not so much around A2 since this law was passed, especially campus. 1. Vehicles are larger and easier to see than pedestrians, especially in snow, rain and dark 2. Feet are easier to control (say slowing down and stopping) than a vehicle, always 3. In a vehicle - pedestrian collision the outcome is 100% predictable 4. If you leave A2 and walk as you do here, in many places you won't survive long Our local law is utterly and completely insane.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 3:33 p.m.

Paula as one who has criticized more than one article here. Let me go on record as saying this was a VERY well written thoughtful article!

Paula Gardner

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 4:19 p.m.

I appreciate that. Thank you.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 3:27 p.m.

@Brad "Mr. Mayor, how can you justify the local crosswalk ordinance given the growing number of accidents where legally protected pedestrians are being stuck and now killed on area streets?" "Mr. Mayor, how much money has been spent on crosswalk installations since the pedestrian law was enacted?" "Mr. Mayor, according to the FHWA, crosswalks are only 22% effective, while RRFBs are 78-84% effective, and HAWk signals 90% effective, Therefore, shouldn't the crosswalk ordinance require pedestrians and not drivers to ensure their safety rather than risk the known odds of being hit?" "Mr. Mayor, will the crosswalk ordinance be repealed before the city is sued or has that already happened?"


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 9:11 p.m.

Hence the sample questions posed - lack of city information. How many accidents have there been at crosswalks since the law? Including fender benders? We know a High School student in a crosswalk was hit recently - unreported by police. We know a pedestrian was hit on Maiden Lane - unreported. Was that In a crosswalk? Just reading the reader responses there is obviously a lot of very near misses at crosswalks. Usually where there is smoke there's fire. So what are the city numbers? Do they even know?


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 6:35 p.m.

The only recent incident that I'm aware of with any nexus with the new crosswalk law was the biker injured crossing Washtenaw west of Platt in August. The other recent incidents were notable because the pedestrians were not in crosswalks. Or Ann Arbor.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 3:27 p.m.

I am so sick of this being all on the drivers.!!!!. When I was in school we learned the " rules of the road" as they pertained to bike riding and walking. What the heck ever happened to the responsibilities of pedestrians?. We walked to the nearest cross-walk, and waited. Now this new law says.. ooo go ahead just walk where ever. I noticed the new cross-walks by homedepot on carpenter last night. The lights were working, the last time thru they were not. I swear 50% of walkers have a death wish. Golfside, is an accident waiting to happen , and it did. There is NOT enough lighting on that road to show people. So sad about the lady who died there. Pedestrians need to be ticketed, fine them for walking wrong. Maybe they will wake up, before they get hit.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 8 p.m. is my understanding that pedestrians can cross on a red light IF they do not impede or interfere with the flow of traffic, and in a crosswalk.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 1:46 a.m.

snark, someone has already mentioned in a previous story that jaywalking is not prohibited in Ann Arbor. I'm not sure if that's correct or not, but I'm almost certain no one in A2 has been cited for jaywalking in decades. If you aren't giving jaywalkers tickets, you're promoting crossing anywhere and at anytime.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 6:32 p.m.

What law do you think says "just walk wherever"? The much-discussed pedestrian law specifically relates to crosswalks. There are no laws giving right of way to pedestrians outside of a crosswalk. And the law only gives right of way to pedestrians who will be imminently crossing.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 3:11 p.m.

It's really bad in downtown Ann Arbor at night. You have pedestrians dressed in dark clothing using cell phones or headphones attached to iPods that are totally unaware of their surroundings. It isn't clear if they are distracted or simply oblivious but the "almost" tragedies are common place. Bicycles are even worse as they usually have no lights or reflectrors and totally ignore all traffics laws, as well as common sense. The bikes are stealth missles that you have no chance to avoid. Car drivers need to be aware of this but pedestriams and bikes should be the focus of law enforcement.

Robert Granville

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 5:11 p.m.

Do you truly believe that law enforcement focused on pedestrian and bike traffic would be a sustainable, effective use of limited resources? Do you actually believe that it would change the behavior of drunk pedestrians downtown at night?

Jamie Pitts

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 3:07 p.m.

Seriously though, I agree with this editorial. We each have to be responsible. Among all of the users of the road there are a certain percentage that are just not with it and are a serious danger to themselves and those around them. The city designs the road to maximize safety and balance the use of the road/bike lane/sidewalk. It is a relief to see what is going on near Arborland and the 23. The tragedy really is that for this section of road, the community spent too long maximizing car safety and convenience over other concerns.

Jeff Gaynor

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 7:55 p.m.

@Jamie: your previous comment was unerringly honest and 'uncensored'; this one unerringly respectful. Different in style, but both tell the story well.

Jamie Pitts

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 2:50 p.m.

It is a war out there. The battlefield is designed by city planners and there are three embittered participants fighting for their square inch of road. The car (tanks with rocket engines, really): our goal is to get the cozy, buffered occupants to their latte as quickly as possible. The smooth ride to Latte Inc. is periodically interrupted with a ding sound (perhaps a squirrel, perhaps a bicycle made for two, who knows). Bleep bleep, oh that is not a horn, that is my phone. Ding. Txt memo: write about this incident with concern. Ding. Bicyclists: these folks have pure road-rage. Understandable because we have to fights tanks without having any arbor except for their ridiculous-looking foam hats. F. you. We must navigate roads as wide as they are long, designed to make tanks flyyyyyyyy to their lattes. F. you. The planners have been conned into carving out a spaghetti-thin lane for irate rebels who only take comfort in the fact that we will still live 20 years longer than the drivers. Ding. The pedestrians. Every city planning picture makes the pedestrians look like deer in neat lines. We are not. We The Pedestrians are in fact mostly drunk, invisible-cloak wearing seekers of suicide-by-car or bicycle. We are in danger from bicyclists' constant verbal assault, and we get honked at when we slowwwwly cross the road with our kids and elderly parents. Love us, please, and here is a flower for your hood. Ding. We really both admire and hate the bicyclists who have managed to get the city to do something for us. Our suicidal tendencies exist for a real purpose: we sacrifice ourselves in order to get the city's attention to build crosswalks. And it works! When we're not walking, we're bicycling and driving.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

I live right downtown....and I walk around town or cycle all the time, but I also park my car as an SUV with rocket engines... I careen all around, trying to run people over constantly...while heading out to get my soy latte....[insert grand sarcasm here, don't like soy] so I understand how you feel....really? I don't drink lattes, would never violate traffic laws and endanger anyone and would never blatantly say "" as you did showing your total lack of social decorum.

Jamie Pitts

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 2:56 p.m.

Edits: "fights tanks without having any arbor" -> "fight tanks without having any armor"

Paula Gardner

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 2:46 p.m.

@Brad, I probably should have written "spate of incidents." I used stories because so many people respond to them in the comments. This is surprising to read. We much more often get asked for updates, and that's why you'll see multiple stories on single incidents. Police also require time to investigate, notify family, etc. There can be days between the incident, a police determination of what their investigation showed and then the name of a victim.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 2:43 p.m.

I have always been amazed at how pedestrians don't wear brighter clothes or reflector bands. So many times I pass people (often walking in the same direction as traffic, not against it) who I don't see until the very last second. When I walk I wear super bright clothes, sneakers with reflectors on them, and an arm band that reflects. It's just common sense that if you don't want to be hit, make yourself as visible as possible. And this includes crossing wide roads.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 2:34 p.m.

Probably the best way to address the "recent spate of stories" is to quit writing them unless they offer some new or useful information. Just adding to the currently prevailing hype doesn't qualify.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 2:31 p.m.

I am the guy on Carpenter Road after dark, you hate to follow. Having almost had collisions with several people south of the cross walk at the Home Depot and before the cross walk at Elsworth - I now drive that stretch at 20 MPH after dark. Several times there have been people crossing pushing shopping carts, talking on their cell phones, pulling children behind them, or just walking like a flock in a group across the street. No part of town is scarier after dark to me, and the spring and fall are the worst, because people bring out the dark clothing. In the winter, you see fewer of them, but the road conditions can be worse for stopping. Sometimes I wish I had an anchor, instead of brakes in that area. I have been lucky, I have only had a close call or two. But I try to avoid that area after dark if I can. I can't say it has gotten worse or better recently, the problem has existed for as long as I can remember.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 2:09 p.m.

That pedestrian law has got to go. What happen=ed to the greedy lawyers in this town. Stopped (quickly) for a Huron High School kid at the x-walk during rush hour. - same walk that other kid was hurt at. Crouched down and gripped the wheel hard waiting for that rear-end mashup. Didn't happen luckily. Wasn't sure the slow lane cars were going to stop (neither was the kid in front of me by then). They did. All safe - barely - by the skin of our teeth. Stupid %@!#^&** law !


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 2:36 p.m.

The same can be said for pedestrians: they can stop & wait for 30 seconds also. They can even walk a little bit too the nearest crosswalk. But I see on a DAILY basis going to work where pedestrians don't even wait for the light even when they have one (i.e. "guaranteed" a go-ahead to cross). If anyone needs proof, go hang out in front of the U of M Hospital at the crosswallk/intersection of Fuller & Maiden Ln @ around 6:30am. People cross there in clusters against the light. They often don't account for or wait for traffic turning east from Maiden Ln, and so place themselves at unnecessary risk. No incidents yet, but I've seen many close calls, and not because of the drivers. It's because the pedestrians just plow ahead. And it's not because they won't get their turn (they HAVE a light and a crosswalk). It's because they refuse to wait. Period.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 9:36 p.m.

Unlike the logical remainder of the legal U.S.where the pedestrian must asure their own safe entry into a crosswalk and drivers stop if able , Ann Arbor code makes the driver responsible for pedestrian safery starting from the sidewalk curb on. The sidewalk is not the domain of the driver and pedestrians should never be lured into a false security where there really is none. It is a deadly law and will be repealed soon by the city or later after another tragedy is taken to a higher more expensive court.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 6:05 p.m.

@Admiral, many of us are also complaining about people crossing willy nilly or doing so on foot or bike in no lighting, with nothing reflective and it being a scary experience for the driver.

Admiral Halsey

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 5:27 p.m.

It's a fantastic law for residents of Ann Arbor. I think the automobile-dependence of many of these readers is clouding the reality that pedestrians deserve safety and priority. Stopping for 30 seconds while walkers cross at sanctioned crosswalks certainly shouldn't be the source of such anger, and the truth is that, of course, pedestrians have to be constantly aware of reckless and needlessly hurried traffic.

A Voice of Reason

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 1:31 p.m.

Any road that is a 4 lane road or the speed limit is above 35mph, should not have pedestrian crossing . Spend the money and put a proper light in. Also, all pedestrian waiting areas on either side of the sign should be illuminated. Funny how the government is cheap and does not go for perfection when it relates to public safety! A biker was almost killed because they could only see that a huge SUV had stopped, but could not see the car in the second lane choose not to and ran right through the pedestrian crossing, missing the biker by seconds. The biker grabbed his heart in terror and is lucky to be alive. It is only a matter of time people! This was on Huron near Ingalls.

Ann English

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 3:01 a.m.

That was very near where I could have been hit but wasn't, in my early driving days. When you're turning left into a driveway or another street, whether in a car or on a bicycle, don't assume both lanes you must cross are open if you see just one driver inviting you through. Not too long ago, I turned down another driver's offer to pull out of a gas station in front of him, for I saw the oncoming traffic in the lane to his left which I would have to cross in order to complete my left turn. That story (lesson) ran a month or two ago I took to heart; now you're showing by example that bicyclists should learn it too: Inviting a driver OR bicyclist to cross in front of you for a left turn is the wrong thing to do if there is another lane to your left or right with oncoming traffic going in your direction. You're inviting someone to get hit by the oncoming traffic, whether he is coming out of or going into a driveway or another street.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

For each oblivious pedestrian there is an equal number of cyclists and drivers. It's not a conspiracy of one against the other. We don't notice the pedestrians, cyclists or drivers who follow the laws, behave as expected and cause no concern. We do notice those who dart in front of us, disrespect the laws and don't follow road etiquette. When you consider the amount of traffic flowing in & through Ann Arbor the transgressors are a very small ratio. And yet we are right to be concerned. When I experienced a near hit, as a driver or pedestrian, I am at first scared then angry. That's good. That keeps me human. The tragic accidents in recent weeks serve as reminders to be careful and aware of our surroundings. These articles, thank you Paula, give us a place to sound out. If only were required reading before stepping into a public road then all would be perfect.

John of Saline

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 7:13 p.m.

I definitely notice cyclists that follow the laws, because it is so unusual. The percentage I see stop at stop signs and red lights is very low.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

Will repeat again -- whatever happened to stop, look and listen; then cross the street. I know exactly how this person feels, have been there because I've had the same thing happen. Some individuals feel they have a right to just walk out in front of vehicles and we all will slam on our brakes. Likewise, I have found more and more vehicles who just pull out in front of me without looking and I again have to slam on my brakes -- I pay attention when driving because of various incidences as stated above.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 3:25 p.m.

It is not being taught by parents, or schools. Or enforced by the police.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 2:26 p.m.

Thank you! No one does that anymore. I always stop, look listen before crossing. Such a simple concept, which used to be taught in grade school.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 1:14 p.m.

A more truthful response than ""I could have killed those two people."", might be, "Those two people almost got themselves killed."

Jake C

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 2:29 p.m.

Great point steven. It often doesn't matter if you had any way to avoid a death, if someone dies in your presence, it affects you (at least it does for most people). Say you're heading down the highway and someone decides to kill himself by jumping off a highway overpass. It doesn't matter if you had zero way to avoid a person landing on your car's hood, your vehicle ran into a human being and they died. That's gonna stick with the driver for a long, long time. Or say you're playing tennis with someone and they have a sudden heart attack and die. Maybe the doctors & paramedics tell you there was nothing you could have done, it was some chronic congenital condition. But most people are still going to be thinking about "What If" for a long time, and that's a normal response.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

Paula - you're right. Even though from the perspective of an outside observer, if someone crosses an unlit road wearing dark clothing at a place other than a crosswalk at night, you'll probably conclude that he is at fault for whatever happened to him. When you're actually the one in the vehicle who hits him, no matter how much you know in your brain that you're not at fault, that probably doesn't rid yourself of the guilt you feel and will carry the rest of your life. Just as much as I feel bad for the families of the people killed in the Golfside and Ann Arbor-Saline accidents, I feel bad for the people driving who hit them, likely had little to no power to do anything different in that situation, and will have to carry this the rest of their lives.

Paula Gardner

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 1:55 p.m.

That's so true. And I wanted to believe it afterward. But I don't know that drivers in these circumstances ever reach that point.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

Our local ordinance implies that pedestrians always have the right of way. The challenge is that pedestrians can then be emboldened to foolishness. The driver of the car is on the phone, and the pedestrian has earbuds in, and neither pays close attention. There has to be a clearer sense of responsibility, and fair or not, the larger burden falls on pedestrians, because theirs is the larger potential harm. Our local ordinance can't compensate for that, and probably exacerbates the problem, relieving pedestrians of perceived responsibility.

Jeff Gaynor

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

I disagree; the ordinance says cars are to stop and allow pedestrians to cross, at crosswalks - not that pedestrians should be foolish. Unfortunately, some are. I have seen too many people, walking and driving, act as though only they exist.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 3:23 p.m.

very well stated.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 1:02 p.m.

A couple of years ago, I came inches away from hitting a man who was walking at 6 am on a pitch-dark winter Sunday morning on Zeeb Rd. I was just about to enter the 94 ramp when I slammed on my brakes. He was wearing black clothing and I didn't see him...who expects to see a pedestrian at that location, at that time of day! I still shudder when I think about what a close call that was.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 2:32 p.m.

Reminds me of Gary Lillie killed on Marshall road by a drunk driver but it was 1 AM in the morning on a dark unlit country road. I am not excusing the driver but there is a bit of an expectation of no pedestrian traffic in that area at that time of day.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 12:39 p.m. epidemic that has been ramping up ever since we decided to make a law here in Oz that deviates from both the state law and the signage posted on the streets. So, city council, how many more people and car accidents are you will to sacrifice for your lame vision of how things ought to be?


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

@Attempted Voice of Reason - I think "letter of the law" wise, you are correct. I believe that the problem is more of an attitude than a "letter of the law" issue. When they passed that ridiculous law, it seemed to ramp up the entitled attitude of pedestrians. Weather it made sense or not. In the cross walk or not, in the city or not - by god, I'm a pedestrian and I will cross wherever I please. Also, most people are not aware of the strict boundaries of the city with Pittsfield and especially the area in question generally being considered part of the city. .... and actually, this is yet another argument against the accordance, as the law will differ depending on what side of some road you are on. (how about the township islands?)


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 12:53 p.m.

pssssssst - Jonnya2 - "epidemic" was quoting Paula's description in the article. You should read it prior to commenting, as it moves things along a little better and we don't have to keep going back over the same things that way.

Attempted Voice of Reason

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 6 a.m.

EyeHeart: While I do agree with your dislike of locally tailored traffic laws that lead to needless accidents, I did want to point out two things here: 1) The incident was in Pittsfield Township, outside the City limits, so the law wasn't in effect here. 2) The pedestrians crossed away from a crosswalk, so even if it were Ann Arbor "proper", the law wouldn't apply.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 4:46 a.m.

How about you give citations of the epidemic. There has been ONE incident that is in Ann Arbor where a person was killed., The others were in a township that goes by different ordinances. But as usual, don;t let facts get int he way of your argument, You never do.

Barb's Mom

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 6:03 p.m.

@ Admiral Halsey--what careless driving are you talking about. This article is about pedestrians in dark clothing, not in a cross walk, crossing a 5 lane road in the dark and almost getting hit by a car. The author states that she was not on the phone or distracted in any way, how is that careless driving. Both pedestrians that were hit and killed last week were not in crosswalks, after dark and at least 1 was wearing all dark clothing. How can it be the driver's being careless when the pedestrians are breaking the law by jaywalking?

Admiral Halsey

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 5:20 p.m.

I'm proud that our town puts pedestrians ahead of autos in priority. There's no excuse for careless driving, and I hope all the negative posts on here implying the injured/dead pedestrians "deserved what they got" aren't indicative of residents' actual feelings toward folks who walk and bicycle. There's nothing lame about a vision of pedestrians' safety and importance.

Basic Bob

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 1:20 p.m.

Apparently it has spread to the neighboring townships that have adopted the Uniform Traffic Code.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 12:35 p.m.

"the yellow line of my" lane...

Paula Gardner

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 1:16 p.m.

Got it. Thank you.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 12:06 p.m.

I really don't care what the law says. Pedestrians are ultimately ALWAYS at fault when a car hits them. Get REAL mad at this...go ahead. Get even MORE mad because I'm right. Want me to explain to why I'm right? Who can stop faster? Who can turn around faster? Who has more time to look and judge an area before entering it? Who has more control of the "vehicle" they're piloting? I don't care if you have "the right of way" in a have the capacity to lift your head up and look about you and your surroundings. If you STILL step into the path of a vehicle....AGAIN WHO CARES IF YOU HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY...that's ALL on you now. You can point your finger at the driver all you want.....pedestrian still got hit. End of the day wouldn't it just be better to NOT think you have the "right of way" and NOT get hit by a car? Don't be entitled as a pedestrian....


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 2:02 a.m.

...because the many aggressive drivers in this town are never at fault, ha! Being here 3 years now, I am still amazed at the aggressive behaviors displayed on the roads here...its disgusting.

Ron Granger

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 2:53 p.m.

"Want me to explain to why I'm right?" Thinking that you are entitled doesn't make it true.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 5:50 a.m.

Credit goes to to johnnya2 for pointing out the flawed logic in Billy's statement, with his deft "reductio ad absurdum". (And we needn't ask billy for clarification, since he has already made his stance abundantly clear.) Thankfully, we live in a world not ruled by billy, where pedestrians are accorded rights as well as responsibilities.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 4:45 a.m.

That is the most ridiculous statement ever made from a moral, legal or any other perspective. FAULT is blame. I guess in your delusional world if a person were standing on a sidewalk and the driver ran onto the sidewalk they would be at fault. You did say they ALWAYS are. If you are walking across a crosswalk at a green light and some idiot decides to run the red light that he has and he is traveling at 50 MPH, your ability to get out of the way is generally no going to be able to move as fast. How about YOU and the likes of you learn to drive. You do not get to break traffic laws just because you have two tons of steel backing you up


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 6:24 p.m.

Billy, I AM a pedestrian and I NEVER assume that simply because I have the right of way that I don't have to use common sense here. I know I do, and I will wait longer than some of these pedestrians who go slopping across the street without so much as looking around them. these people give us ped's a bad reputation but not all of us are careless so do NOT paint all pedestrians with the same brush. I don't appreciate it. I am not "entitled".

laura wolf

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 6:12 p.m.

@mrunner73 - he, he, he, i hope you use your ability to read minds in your work, you could be rich.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 5:58 p.m.

I understand what Billy is saying. As a pedestrian or someone on a "non-motorized" vehicle self preservation alone should mean you don't put yourself in harms way as much as possible, being aware of your surroundings, looking both ways and staying alert at crossings, marked and unmarked. Being right about having the right of way compared to being dead is really not a comparison. The right of way shouldn't trump being alive.

Robert Granville

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 5:03 p.m.

Remind me never to walk when you're driving. Your attitude leads me to believe that you would feel righteous in hitting a person no matter the circumstance.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 3:07 p.m.

Been running across streets and intersections for 45 years. Yes, I had a few close calls that were MY fault at being careless but I can read the mind of a driver who appears unwilling to yield. I will always hestitate and let a car go by, even if I have a legal right of way.

laura wolf

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 2:19 p.m.

here is one pedestrians have no control over - you want to cross a side street at a corner and check traffic on the main street looking for cars with turn signals on. you see non one slowing down or signaling and start to cross when some one whips off the main street at full speed right across your path. same thing happens at driveways. it is hard to read drivers minds.

Basic Bob

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 1:18 p.m.

I'd rather dive into pricker bushes than get hit by a car. Believe me, I won't hesitate if the situation presents itself.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : noon

I really have a hard time understanding what goes through the heads of those who put their faith in signs, rather than their eyes and ears. The sign says you can walk. The speeding cars you can see and hear, however, are saying otherwise. "The law" is a poor substitute for your life and limb - though I suppose you can rest easy with the satisfaction of knowing that, at your funeral, they'll say "you had the right of way."


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 7:33 p.m.

Nicole...the reverse goes for bikers...I have on numerous occasions have been close to being run over by bicyclists that run red lights...sorry, when you have control of a vehicle of transportation and are on the must obey traffic laws...but they don't, just ask the pedestrians crossing with their light, in front of a truck stopped for the light at 4th Ave and Liberty/// and the cyclist that zoomed around the stopped cars at the red light only to hit the legally crossing peds...or rather the hand cart they were pushing...yep...he was lucky there was no oncoming traffic to impede his flight through the intersection...bicyclists must obey traffic laws regarding use of a vehicle...same for skateboarders....if it's got wheels, it is a vehicle!

Nicole B.

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 5:32 p.m.

This is why all the lip service given to bike commuting and public transit is worthless when bikers and pedestrians face a juggernaut of 5 lanes of traffic to cross the street, or a 1/2 mile walk to the nearest crosswalk. I was once hit by a car on the *sidewalk* while cycling, and the driver blamed me. When I did cycle regularly to work, I avoided main streets whenever possible because, well, I didn't want to get killed. Even then, some drivers obviously resented my mere presence because I delayed them 15 seconds. I have pretty much given up biking around Ann Arbor because it's too dangerous.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 11:57 a.m.

Stadium Blvd on Fri. @ 7:30pm. I had a bicyclist in black pants and grey top with no lights shoot out of a driveway and right in front of me to cross toward Kroger. I saw her at the last second and avoided what could have been many posts in this form. I didn't even see her glance back.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 3:17 p.m.

Fuller Rd on Monday @ 2:00pm. I had a driver in a black sedan shoot through the driveway of the Fuller Park Pool, right through the shared-use path crossing, to turn onto Fuller Rd. I saw her the whole way and slowed down ahead of time to avoid what could have been one of many articles in this online newspaper, even though bikes and pedestrians have the right of way. She never even saw me. I worry about simply posting bad stories on a forum like this. I don't think it makes any sort of relevant point to say that this many bikers screwed up or this many drivers did, because there's fault on both sides at different times.

Ann English

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 2:40 a.m.

Last Wednesday I noted that even streets leading into apartment/townhouse/condominium complexes get motorists who hit pedestrians. Now you're telling me that even Stadium Boulevard, with 13 traffic signals from its west end to Sheridan, has its own share of bicyclists "asking" to get hit. Apparently her bicycle didn't even have reflectors on the spokes.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 11:40 a.m.

people have to be more aware now than ever. cell phones are a distraction. crosswalks without lights blinking ae a disaster waiting to happen. some stop on the left hand side the right goes right on through. we have several cross ing without lights. i think it both us and the lights. cost is a factor but so are lives. for once i think we the people need to think more when we cross. being lazy and not using the proper area is our fault. think before you cross.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 1:45 p.m.

Crosswalks with lights aren't any good if the pedestrians don't use them. I encountered two peds wearing dark clothes crossing a Plymouth crosswalk just after sunset. They didn't use the flashing lights, and they didn't even look up at the still moving traffic as they crossed.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 11:37 a.m.

You make really good points and I think I can safely say that we've all been in a situation like yours. It is a tough one to call. The blame is always placed on the driver since they are supposed to be in control of the vehicle at all times. But what about the surroundings? Like you stated, no lights (streets), no crosswalk, dark clothing and we're supposed to be prepared for someone to just pop up out of the blue? I hate it when pedestrians (and bicyclists) cross in the middle of the street, against a red light, etc. Maybe we need to stress more pedestrian safety and what they should do to keep themselves safe.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 4:39 a.m.

"The blame is always placed on the driver since they are supposed to be in control of the vehicle " This is just not factually correct. If a pedestrian darts in front of a car THEY are at fault. This is the major misinformation that continues to be spread about the A2 ordinance and driver safety. The driver is at fault if they hit ice, snow and can not stop based on the too fast for conditions., but that would not have been the case in this situation


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

You second statement is where the problem is, pedestrians don't always think before crossing a street. I was taught that crossing at a street light or at a stop sign was the safest for the pedestrians and drivers but that is no longer true in A2. Pedestrians cross wherever they want and drivers beware!!!!!

Albert Howard

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 11:30 a.m.

'It feels like an epidemic right now'... Candid column, Paula.