Most dangerous intersections for pedestrians in Ann Arbor are downtown, council member says
City Council Member Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward, said it's a tragic situation. She took the opportunity at Monday night's council meeting to add some facts and statistics to the broader discussion, including crash data revealing some of the most dangerous intersections for pedestrians.
Most accidents between pedestrians and cars are downtown at a stop light or stop sign, Briere said, and most of the time the driver simply didn't see the pedestrian who was legally in the crosswalk.
"So, if you are a pedestrian, dangerous intersections include most of those on Huron — at State, Division, Fifth, Fourth and Main," she said.
Below is the full text of Briere's statement.
Many of us have been concerned about pedestrian safety at crosswalks. This is especially so after the recent tragic fatality on Plymouth Road.Some members of the community have suggested that all mid-block crosswalks should be removed; some have faulted pedestrians for darting out into traffic before cars have stopped.
Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com
Last night a former council member (Leslie Morris) came to caucus to discuss pedestrian safety and crosswalk laws. She had taken the time to look up state laws on crosswalks and pedestrian rights-of-way, and she asked that I speak to the issue.
Thanks to the help of another person who had already acquired the data on pedestrian/car accidents between 2004 and 2012, I want to share some information with the public and the council.
First, the law. Michigan adopted the Uniform Traffic Code in 2003; the city preliminarily adopted it in 2010, and adopted it in its entirety in January 2011. The pedestrian's rights and duties section contain three important rules — and violation of these rules is a civil infraction.
First, pedestrians who are in a crosswalk that doesn't have any traffic control signal have the right-of-way. They're in the crosswalk. Drivers shall yield to these pedestrians.
Second, pedestrians who use a crosswalk that does have a signal must use those signals. But if they are in a crosswalk, drivers shall yield to these pedestrians.
Third, when any vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk — marked or unmarked, with or without a signal — in order to let a pedestrian cross the roadway, drivers of other vehicles approaching from the rear may not pass the stopped vehicle.
And how many accidents have involved the lighted crosswalks with flashing yellow lights on Plymouth Road? Two, counting the most recent.
How many on Stadium? One since the city installed new crosswalks.
Out of 438 accidents between cars and pedestrians, only 7 occurred on Plymouth, and 5 of those were either before the new traffic code took effect or were at crosswalks with red light signals.
While 11 pedestrians were hit on Stadium, 10 of these occurred between 2004 and 2010, which is before crosswalks went in — those lighted crosswalks.
Although the number of accidents has increased in the past couple of years, that increase is reflected in a set of startling facts: most accidents occur in the autumn when visibility decreases and new people move into our community.
But don't assume that this increase is due to unfamiliar traffic laws, however — it's been the pattern since 2004. And most accidents between pedestrians and cars are downtown, and at a stop light or stop sign. Most of the time, the driver simply didn't see the pedestrian who was legally in the crosswalk and following the law.
So, if you are a pedestrian, dangerous intersections include most of those on Huron — at State, Division, Fifth, Fourth and Main.
Crossing the street on Liberty can also be an issue; multiple accidents have occurred at each intersection between State and Main. Crossing State at South University is really a problem. All of these intersections have lights and clearly marked crosswalks.
Driver inattention is a great risk if you are walking or riding your bike, so please pay attention. And if you are driving, please be careful.
Briere also provided these information links:
Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's email newsletters.