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Posted on Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Platt and Washtenaw traffic light nearly operational 10 months after bicyclist suffered 'catastrophic' injuries

By Kyle Feldscher


Traffic lights hang over the intersection of Washtenaw Avenue and Platt Road. The crosswalk where the accident took place is visible in the background.

Kyle Feldscher |

They never saw each other.

She was riding her bike across Washtenaw Avenue, crossing near Platt Road. He was driving to his father’s apartment after getting off work. And, without the benefit of a traffic light, she rode right into his path.

On Aug. 13, two lives were irreparably changed. Now, more than 10 months later, a traffic light installed at the intersection of their tragic accident likely will keep similar incidents from happening.

A then-25-year-old man, driving a Ford Explorer, was moving at the speed of traffic that day as he neared the intersection. According to the Ann Arbor police report, traffic was heavy in the right lane but moving in the man's lane. As he drove into the crosswalk, the driver said he caught a glimpse of a then-55-year-old woman on her bicycle and slammed the brakes, but it was too late.

It was “like she appeared out of nowhere,” the man told police. revisited this accident as the Arbor Hills development nears completion. The 7.45-acre development will include 15 new businesses — and one important traffic light, including a crosswalk, at the intersection of Washtenaw Avenue and Platt Road, 230 feet west of the crosswalk’s current location.


The Arbor Hills development and the new traffic lights at Washtenaw Avenue and Platt Road.

Kyle Feldscher |

The traffic light is built but is not yet operational. Mark Sweeney, manager of the Michigan Department of Transportation’s Brighton post, said the light should be operational in two or three weeks.

“The new signal at Washtenaw and Platt is approximately two to three weeks away from being placed in flash mode (flashing yellow for Washtenaw and red for Platt),” Sweeney said in an email Friday. “After that, the signal would remain in flash mode for about one week, at which time it would switch over to stop-and-go operation.”

That is about 10 months after the driver hit the bicyclist as she crossed Washtenaw Avenue in the crosswalk on her bike.

The bicyclist entered the roadway after being waved in by another woman, who was driving east in the right lane, according to the report. The woman in the right lane told police she saw the bicyclist waiting to cross and stopped, per the city of Ann Arbor’s pedestrian crosswalk ordinance. The woman stopped in the lane checked her driver’s side mirror and didn’t see any vehicles approaching.

“She checked her left side mirror and thought that the traffic she saw in the left lane was far enough back where she thought the biker could have at least made it to the center lane,” Ann Arbor police Officer Steven Dye wrote in the police report, “so she waved to the biker for her to cross the road.”

Other drivers slowed and stopped behind the woman in the right lane. The bicyclist got on her bike and started pedaling her way across Washtenaw. The woman stopped in the lane told police the bicyclist was looking straight ahead and didn’t check for traffic as she rode out into the street.

It wasn’t until the bicyclist was in front of the woman’s vehicle that the woman saw the driver’s Explorer coming.

The driver of the Explorer told police he had just left his job as a home health care provider and turned right from Manchester Road onto Washtenaw. He’d driven Washtenaw many times but didn’t know there was a crosswalk at Platt Road, he said.

He didn’t notice anyone stopping and traffic was moving in his lane. He was alone in the vehicle. He wasn’t on a cellphone. And, he couldn’t see the bicyclist.

“At the speed he was going, he couldn’t stop,” a witness told police.

Police determined the Explorer was going at least 43 miles per hour, two miles per hour below the speed limit, when it struck the bicyclist. Witnesses told police the bicyclist flew about 20 feet before coming to rest on the pavement. The driver of the Explorer immediately stopped the vehicle and got out to render aid, and was extremely shaken up by the accident.

“I would have swerved off the road if I would have had the time,” he told police just after the crash. “I can’t believe this happened, it’s just surreal.”

According to the report, he began crying when he said, “I never want to hurt no one.”

Huron Valley Ambulance responded to the scene and transported the bicyclist to University of Michigan Hospital, where she was treated for injuries that Ann Arbor police Sgt. Bill Clock called “catastrophic.” She survived the crash, but suffered a “massive” closed head injury and fractures to her pelvis, femur and ankle, according to the report. left messages with family members of both the driver of the Explorer and the bicyclist seeking comment for this story. is not naming these two people because they did not return those messages.

Both the driver of the Explorer and the bicyclist were assigned hazardous actions by investigators. According to the report, the driver did not stop before entering the crosswalk and yielding the right of way to the bicyclist. However, investigators said the bicyclist should not have suddenly left the curb and gone into the path of a vehicle that was unable to stop.

No criminal charges were brought against the driver of the Explorer. First Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Konrad Siller wrote in a statement that there was not enough evidence to show the driver made a moving violation.

“Witnesses reported that he was not driving erratically or in a dangerous manner and that he had no time to stop before the impact,” Siller wrote. “Also, there is no evidence (he) was under the influence of an intoxicating liquor or controlled substance. The available credible evidence indicated that (his) view of (the bicyclist) was blocked or obstructed by the vehicle adjacent to the curb.”

The driver of the Explorer was cited for lack of automobile insurance, the only citation that came out of the accident.

The man was not the only driver in the area unaware of a crosswalk at the intersection.

Another witness who was three cars behind the vehicle that stopped for the bicyclist, told police he assumed the woman in the right lane stopped because of a traffic backup and not a crosswalk. The driver of the vehicle behind the Explorer told police she saw brake lights just before the collision, said she wasn’t familiar with that stretch of road but didn’t see a crosswalk.

“(The driver behind the Explorer) said she did not think a crosswalk would even be on that part of the road,” Dye wrote in the report, adding the woman did not see the roadside signs or an overhead sign that marked the crosswalk.

That problem will be solved once the traffic signal there becomes operational and city officials believe the signal will greatly improve pedestrian safety in the area.

“Having a traffic-control intersection with a crosswalk, where red lights mean all vehicles must stop and they will, it’s clearly going to be a huge safety benefit for pedestrians and bicyclists,” said Eli Cooper, city of Ann Arbor transportation director.

The crosswalk is in its current location because of the hill on Washtenaw Avenue west of Platt. The hill makes sightlines difficult for drivers coming up to the intersection, so the crosswalk was originally placed in the area where drivers would have the best chance of seeing a pedestrian.

Sweeney said a sign will not be posted to notify drivers of the new traffic light.

"When a new signal is placed within close proximity to other existing signals, which is the case along Washtenaw Avenue, a sign is not warranted," he said. "Nor is one warranted along Platt Road because Platt operates currently under stop control."

Cooper said the light would neutralize the effect of the hill and will also allow more flexibility for motorists by allowing left turns from Platt Road onto Washtenaw, which are currently prohibited.

“This is a significant improvement,” he said.

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



Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 11:41 a.m.

why do bicyclists get treated special?how about walkers,kids on scooters,kids on big wheels,people pushing a baby in a stroller.I regret what happened to that woman but it seems like she could have went to one of the many lights in the area and safely crossed.The driver apparently did NO wrong and under existing law the woman did NO wrong.Perhaps the system needs to be changed.


Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 3:07 a.m.

Though I don't want to overwhelm anyone with regulations, it seems reasonable to require cyclists to walk their bikes over crosswalks like this.


Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 2:33 p.m.

15crown, the cyclist would have been moving much slower, more able to see the oncoming traffic and perhaps based on the bike, a higher view standing and more visible to the driver who she went in front of. That's how.


Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 11:42 a.m.

and how would that have stopped what happened?


Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 2:56 a.m.

I have lived in Ann Arbor for over 30 years and it took this to install a traffic light? Too unreal. This is also why Arby's left. They said that traffic was killing their business. People could get in? But getting out? Another story. Bikes and cars don't mix. Bike should have known in heavy traffic cars can't stop. Priceless.


Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 12:11 a.m.

I can hardly wait for the this light. I work at the rec center and it is almost impossible to make a right turn at rush hour. With the new shopping center coming this is most needed. I see so many people making illegal left turns from Platt onto Washtenaw, it is ridiculous!


Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

Hopefully the light will have a left turn function.


Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 11:43 a.m.

the light by itself won't stop the illegal left turns.

Matt Evett

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 9:47 p.m.

I have been wanting a traffic light at that intersection for years. This will make it much safer for customers to head south from the Whole Foods lot. As it is, many people have to make a left out of the lot onto Washtenaw across four lanes of traffic in order to get into the rightmost lane to make a right on Huron Drive. It will be much safer to make a right onto Washtenaw and then get into the left lane in order to make a left on Platt.


Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 11:47 a.m.

so u going to put a light in front of all shopping areas on Washtenaw,Packard,Stadium etc.,etc..Sounds like a special use for u-getting into and out of Whole Foods.


Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 2:58 a.m.

There is no BP gas station at that intersection. There is the Rec center but that is about it.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 12:07 a.m.

How sad the parking lot does not force that left turning traffic directly out onto Huron Parkway. It would eliminate the left turn and be much safer.

Ann English

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 11:50 p.m.

I'm not ready to say that the new traffic signal will make it easier for BP customers to make a left turn out of the gas station onto Washtenaw. I can see both westbound lanes filled with traffic waiting for a green light, blocking the one and only driveway. Hopefully, many motorists will leave that driveway clear so that people can drive out, even if it means turning right only. There are probably a lot of areas around town where motorists on five-lane roads, waiting for lights ahead to turn green, don't pull up to the next car ahead of them, but leave driveways open until the light ahead changes. Usually the motorist pulling out onto the roads are turning right, but I do remember, at one rush-hour, allowing five cars to make left turns in front of me while the red light ahead stayed red, and all five made their left turns safely; they could see the oncoming traffic themselves to my left (where they were going) and the oncoming traffic in the lane to my right.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 8:50 p.m.

Terrible! Awful tragedy. Just the same, if the reflexive "solution" to every collision is installing a new traffic control device--which invariably operates 24/7 and seldom if ever works the way it should --then we are doomed by simple-minded people creating simple initiatives for complex things. Ann Arbor has an aversion, for some reason, to signals that blink at night and for allowing left turns when an arrow doesn't "tell" you it is safe to do so. And I can guarantee you that within five month's time the actuated signal will cease to act as an actuated signal and begin to hold traffic for up to three minutes, even at three in the morning. Every new light ends up causing far more grief than it ever solved. And I won't even go into the inanity of the crosswalk ordinance.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 8:16 p.m.

A bit off-topic, but I just went through the Packard/Carpenter intersection and it's a mess coming from the west. They're starting the construction of the curbs/islands, and as you're going eastbound on Packard it necks down to one lane and there are an overabundance of CLOWNS that think the "merge" sign doesn't apply to them. I'd avoid it if at all possible!


Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 11:50 a.m.

ok so lets put another light in or better yet get rid of those awful islands.

Ann English

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 11:35 p.m.

The southwestern area of that intersection, where you were, is the only corner where there are no reasonably short detours. For reaching the businesses in the 3800, 3810, 3820, 3830 and 3840 buildings on Packard, it's probably going to be easiest to approach from the west. To the northeast, people can use Crystal Drive; to the northwest, people can use Sparrowood and Gross Road; to the southeast, people can use Hawks, Blossom Hill and Center Valley Drive. But no road or combination of roads bypassing the Carpenter-Packard intersection will get you from Ellsworth to Packard, closer than Platt Road, Lorraine, Belvidere and Fernwood do.

Ann English

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 7:35 p.m.

I wonder how much more difficult left turns onto Washtenaw from Arlington will be, when the traffic signals operate in stop-and-go mode, on Sunday afternoons. So left turns from Platt Road onto Washtenaw are going to be allowed; I'm assuming that making slight left turns to get from Platt Road to Glenwood will also be allowed.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 7:20 p.m.

The sad truth is I could have been either of the people in this accident. The crosswalk is close to my house. I go to the Rec Center often. I drive on Washtenaw every day. I have is to take note of the safety precautions to be learned and not allow myself to become complacent or rushed.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 7:15 p.m.

I don't know the particulars of this incident other than what is written in this article, but I have to say that regardless of stop signs and stop lights at intersections with crosswalks, many (not all) bicyclists zoom through intersections without looking in any direction, causing motorists to jam on their brakes to avoid a collision. I've seen many many bicyclists do this, and it seems that they don't want to stop or even slow down at intersections. It is a very dangerous behavior. More stoplights may help in some cases, but many cyclists don't obey any traffic rules. I've had several near misses and seen others.


Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 11:53 a.m.

people on bicycles and motorcycles seem to think traffic rules don't exist for them.maybe it's time to change that culture.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 7:04 p.m.

1. I'm not a fan of the light, I think it will create even more congestion on a busy road. 2. What is with this town and the ugly wire lights? Come on, it can't cost that much more to instal actual poles.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 6:24 p.m.

"The woman stopped in the lane told police the bicyclist was looking straight ahead and didn't check for traffic as she rode out into the street." After reading the article, especially the above quote I can only conclude that this is insanity. One person, crossing a street, NOT looking where they were going, and the town residents have to pay for traffic lights?


Wed, Jun 19, 2013 : 9:09 p.m.

Tano, the article did not mention that the light was going up because of the new stores, it only mentions the accident.


Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 3 a.m.

I could not agree more with what you just said. O the insanity of it all. Everyone needs to watch out for eachother. This one was not. How sad.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 12:03 a.m.

"One person, crossing a street, NOT looking where they were going, and the town residents have to pay for traffic lights?" You forgot to mention the driver who was not looking where he was going. He had driven the route many times but claimed he had not seen the crosswalk sign above the lanes of traffic, the crosswalk marks on the road surface, and the crosswalk signs on the sides of the roads.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 8:58 p.m.

But, Tano, the implication is still that the thing to do when an accident occurs is install a light. It just so happens that, yes, a signal was going up eventually, but the general thinking here is that it can in itself save more people from danger. You are right, but still this happens hundreds of times over the decade in various locations, and it now seems to be the tenor of this article.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 8:28 p.m.

As has been stated at least three or four times in this thread, the traffic lights are being installed because of the opening of the new strip malls across from Whole Foods, not because of the accident.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 6:10 p.m.

I may be wrong (wouldn't be the first time) but pedestrians and bicyclist are separate under the law. Crossing Washtenaw as a pedestrian requires walking or walking your bike. Once you began riding your bike across Washtenaw you become subject to all the laws governed for bicyclists. It is a shame that she was hit while on her bike in the crosswalk, but prudence dictates always looking instead assuming everyone is stopping for you.


Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

KJ the key word in that statute is "responsibilities." Seeing a car stopped in traffic is not a reason to stop. Extra caution perhaps but stopping is dangerous and impeding traffic. This is why crosswalks should be at corners, not mid block. At corners you have stop signs and traffic signals. You can't bend state law to accommodate A2's silly ordinances to please people who are used to messing up traffic.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 7:12 p.m.

MCL 257.660c(3): "(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." MCL as in "Michigan Compiled Laws", as in, state law says that if your operating a bike on a sidewalk or crosswalk you have the same rights and responsibilities as a pedestrian. I didn't write it. Yes, prudence does dictate that you don't cross into another lane without verifying that it's safe, but prudence also dictates that you don't blow past someone stopped at a crosswalk.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 5:42 p.m.

"According to the Ann Arbor police report, traffic was heavy in the right lane but moving in the man's lane. As he drove into the crosswalk, the driver said he caught a glimpse of a then-55-year-old woman on her bicycle and slammed the brakes, but it was too late." What was that thing they taught in driver's ed? What was it... They mentioned it over and over, and even showed us movies about it. Oh, I know! When passing stopped cars and visual obstructions you must be aware of pedestrians and children suddenly appearing and entering traffic.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 5:27 p.m.

Saving the cost of all these "safety installations": 1. As a motorist never make the mistake of being overly courteous when it puts on you the RESPONSIBILITY for "waving" someone into a situation you cannot possibly have complete view of. 2. As a cyclist, never assume that the one "waving" you into a situation which you can't possibly have complete view of yourself and WILLINGLY assume the other party (motorist) has the judgement and ability sufficient to protect you from unseen impending harm. The path to hell is paved with good intentions. – 1654 R. Whitlock Observations on Manners of English 203 Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get. – Forrest Gump

Detached Observer

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 5:09 p.m.

This traffic light is long overdue. It will allow large amounts of traffic to bypass the congested Washtenaw/Huron Parkway intersection. And there will finally be a safe crosswalk across the half-mile stretch between Stadium and Huron. It's a win-win for everybody. Anyone who thinks otherwise . . . ellipsis.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 9:02 p.m.

For everybody, that is, except the driver out at 11:00 pm, or 1:30 pm, or 3:45 pm, who has to stop and sit and sit and sit and wait and wait and wait and wait, all for the purpose of paying "homage" to the people who need it for their safety during bustling daytime hours.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 4:59 p.m.

The crosswalk law would be a good one except that we have too many crosswalks that are of a bad design. Any place where there are two lanes of traffic in the same direction creates a situation where there are blind spots. We need to signal all of the crosswalks that go over more than one lane of traffic in each direction and build more traffic islands on streets with four or more lanes. There are also a few crosswalks on campus which should be signaled simply because the number of pedestrians is so high that a car obeying the law can sit there for a 1/2 or more as there is *always* a pedestrian in the crosswalk.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 3:49 p.m.

Thank you, Kyle. I agree with you and the thoughtful article you wrote--this tragic accident would not have happened if there had been a traffic signal instead of a crosswalk on a four-lane extremely busy high-speed road with very poor visibility. All crosswalks in Ann Arbor on four-lane extremely busy high-speed roads should be eliminated. They imply a safety for pedestrians and bicyclists that simply is not there. This crosswalk, as I recall, does not even have a traffic island in the middle, which made it all the more necessary to cross as quickly as avoid the identical problem with cars traveling at a high rate of speed coming from the other direction who would not see a pedestrian or a bicyclist in the middle of the road. If the city is crazy enough to put crosswalks on four-lane extremely busy high-speed roads (especially in situations where visibility is low or there is lots of complexity for motorists requiring their attention), then perhaps we should be smarter and simply refuse to use them. And then question why our scarce tax dollars are being used for something that is so dangerous to health and safety that no one chooses to use it. When our government does not seem to be making sound, data-driven, well-reasoned decisions, then we do have lots of options for engaging in better thinking ourselves.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 3:46 p.m.

10 months, eh? No use of rushing right into it......

Local Yocal

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 2:53 p.m.

"The woman stopped in the lane told police the bicyclist was looking straight ahead and didn't check for traffic as she rode out into the street."


Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

Sums it up


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 2:43 p.m.

So does this mean you'll be able to turn in all directions onto and off off Platt/Washtenaw? I imagine they will keep the no left turns.

Ann English

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 11:17 p.m.

Kyle, What about Glenwood? Are they going to remove the right turn only sign for motorists leaving Glenwood for Washtenaw? Glenwood isn't quite straight across Washtenaw Avenue from Platt Road, and I'm assuming it will be legal to go across Washtenaw from Platt to Glenwood. How about in the opposite direction? They could even put up a sign showing the lanes and where traffic on them should go, for motorists on both Glenwood and Platt.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 3:15 p.m.

Thanks K.F. I hope this isn't more trouble than it has been the way it is now.

Kyle Feldscher

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 3:01 p.m.

Tesla - Yes, you'll be able to make left turns once the light is operational. I wanted to speak with city traffic engineers about this but they never got back to me.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 2:40 p.m.

I wanted to address the topic of the "nice motorist" waving the bicyclist on. I frequently have to wait to make an unprotected left turn, in my car, across two lanes of traffic into a parking lot (not at an intersection). Inevitably some motorist in the lane closest to me will pity my long wait time, and will slow to a stop, waving me ahead and giving me permission to make a left turn in front of them. However, the same motorist may be blocking my view of the far lane. I can't tell if it's safe or not, so I will not go, no matter how nice the motorist waves. I have had motorists give an exasperated gesture and shake of the head when I don't go; I am sure they grumble, but their supposedly nice gesture is encouraging risky, reckless behavior that I just will not engage in. So just DON'T DO THIS. Just drive on and let me wait for a natural break in traffic when I can see for myself that I can cross both lanes unimpeded. A friend of mine once took advantage of one of these drivers stopping and waving her on. That same driver sped off in embarrassment when she got plowed into and her car was totalled. I'll never remember her saying "wow, he was being so nice--but he didn't even stop to see if I was okay after I got hit." Yeah. She was the reason I don't do this.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 4:17 p.m.

Absolutely on point. They are trying to be nice but are actually impeding traffic by stopping.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 3:59 p.m.

Drivers who "wave" other drivers are frequently sued, and they frequently lose. Don't wave'em - let them make their own determination regarding whether it is safe.

Martha Cojelona Gratis

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 2:05 p.m.

Children, what's wrong with this statement?: "She was riding her bike across Washtenaw Avenue.."


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

I saw a biker run a red light on State St on Saturday night right in front of A2 police. They pulled him over...bikers please remember, you are not above the law.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 5:53 p.m.

Tru2blu, she did not die.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 5:13 p.m.

I completely agree with you about cyclists (not bikers - those riding motorcycles) thinking they "are above the law." Only I'd say "laws" because, usually, I see OTHER cyclists acting as if they think the laws of Newtonian Physics don't apply to them - or that they believe they have precise-enough knowledge to "bet" they can run red lights routinely and not suffer any consequences. I also agree with Mick52's choice of yelling at errant cyclists. But I find that they ignore me when I yell - so it turns out be be just an exercise in relieving one's own outrage when seeing someone casually violating traffic laws which the rest of us obey. As for "No reason to force a biker (CYCLIST) to wait at a red light..." No, no reason except the need to TRAIN ONESELF to achieve the necessary patience and skill which KEEPS US ALIVE in a world with such hazards at the one which killed the unfortunate woman in this story. :-)


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 4:09 p.m.

I hope they ticketed him. I yelled at a cyclist the other during during my ride for running a stop sign.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 3:42 p.m.

Although you should be. No reason to force a biker to wait at a red light as if he was operating a 4,000 pound vehicle.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:56 p.m.

What happened to all the traffic signals being on polls with the street sign hanging - visitors have always commented how clean and easy it is to see the street signs when visiting.

Ann English

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 11:07 p.m.

They didn't all disappear over the past 36 years; I remember when there wasn't any at Wagner and Jackson. I do recall one at Washtenaw and Pittsfield decades ago. Ann Arbor-Saline and Brookfield has such a signal. I guess some get removed and others are put up in other places.

Silly Sally

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 2:56 p.m.

"Poles", not "Polls"

Real Life

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:39 p.m.

Good point, Billy. It seems if you're rifding a bicycle in Ann Arbor it gives you the freedom to ignore the law, common sense and physics.

A A Resident

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.

I should add that if my wife and I are riding a bicycle or a motorcycle in the roadway, we will not stop for a pedestrian waiting to cross. The danger of getting rear-ended is just too high. Instead, we'll take our chances on getting ticketed, and then fight it in court. My wife says that she will probably do the same in her small economy car. I don't blame her one bit.


Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 3:14 p.m.

Thanks for the info Mick I will do a search and see if I can find that article.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 4:08 p.m.

Not long ago Hmm, I believe ran an article where AAPD was staking out certain intersections for violations. I wish the officer's union could or would speak out and denounce this ordinance and state they would not issue on it. I wouldn't if I were on patrol. Or I would like to see a 15th DC judge toss all the tickets for contradicting state law. It's too much to ask of people, especially visitors which A2 is quite famous for in UM sports, art fairs, etc


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 2:02 p.m.

I have never seen anyone being ticketed for not stopping and letting some person cross the street. The police don't even follow this law so why should anyone else?


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

Stupid dangerous ordinance

A A Resident

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:19 p.m.

When a driver "waives someone through", I think it's a nice courteous gesture, but it often means that they are giving their personal permission....... not that they have determined that it is safe to do so. I understand the good intent of the Ann Arbor crosswalk ordinance, but unfortunately, I think it gives pedestrians a false sense of security. I have little doubt that this bicyclist would have been safer if no one had stopped (which impeded visibility), and she had waited for a break in traffic.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

I would blame the AA ordinance for this accident. How can you expect four lanes of traffic (5 if you count the left turn lane) to come to a complete stop for someone standing on the side of the road. When the person stopped in the curb lane that caused a blind spot and caused the accident. There is some negligence on both parties but if I were the pedestrian I would hire Sam and sue the City for enacting this negligent ordinance which contributed to the accident.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 3:57 p.m.

It is a state law.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

Totally agree Herman that stupid ordinance is 100% the cause of this. Had it not been in place, the driver in the right lane would never just stopped in the middle of Washtenaw to let a pedestrian cross there. The city should be sued for this and every other accident that resulted from traffic stopping in odd places to let people walk across the street


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:16 p.m.

Now I would think the fact that there was a car stopped on Washtenaw might have been a clue that something different was happening.

Connecting Dots

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

Crosswalk signs without traffic lights should be placed in the center of the they are in Chicago. Small signs on the side of the roads are not visible enough for automobiles.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 5:52 p.m.

It is in the center of the road. And on the side of the road. And it's visible, particularly if you've driven this stretch of road many times.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

I feel for the both the bicyclist and the driver. People need to remember that she certainly did not want to get hit by a car and he certainly did not want to hit someone. It was an accident - hopefully one we can learn from. There is responsibility on both the side of the driver and the pedestrian/bicyclist. Both need to be aware of their enviroment. Also, if someone waves you through (be it car, bike, or pedestrain),please, please, please still be very cautious. They may mean well, but they don't have the same vantage point that you do. I'm glad that the light will be operational soon. It will certainly be nice for those who want to walk or ride a bike to the shopping centers. Personally, I'm doing a tap dance because, after 10+ years, I can finally turn right onto Washtenaw from Platt and be able to get all the way over to left turn lane to turn onto Huron Parkway during rush hour.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 4:03 p.m.

I disagree. No accident, it is a collision and it was caused because someone goofed. You make an excellent point about "someone waving you through." I policed accidents for that very issue. Almost always it is a driver stopping but never checking oncoming traffic behind them in the other lane or the turn lane. Happens all the time. Just because you are waved into a lane you never go before checking all lanes for oncoming traffic.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

Typical of local prosecutors - the motorist breaks three local laws (all based on state police recommendations), and the cyclist breaks one local law, but hey, it's all equal, right? And there is a gray area in the ordinances that confuses things. The motorist failed to yield to someone in a marked crosswalk, *and* passed someone who was stopped for someone in the marked crosswalk. Those are two separate infractions. The first is our modified form of UTC rule 702, the same ordinance she broke. The second is UTC rule 703. The motorist also broke UTC rule 716 - using due care to avoid a collision. He basically was just as oblivious to what was going on in the road as she was, but he had the due care provision. The gray area is that all of these ordinances say "pedestrian", but because of a state law, they apply to bicyclists using sidewalks and crosswalks. MCL 257.660c(3) says bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities in crosswalks as pedestrians. It would be better if cyclists had to dismount and walk through crosswalks, but really, adult (and) most teen cyclists should be biking in the road, not on the sidewalks and crosswalks. If she'd been operating her bike as a vehicle, the whole thing wouldn't have been a problem. If either of them had been paying a modicum of attention, it wouldn't have happened either. Sad. But motorists should take heart - the local prosecutor's office is on your side, no matter what the laws are.


Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 2:50 p.m.

Mick, you wrote: "KJM while I agree with much of your posts, I have to take exception with your statement if you see the lane next to you stop at a crosswalk you have to stop too. " Page 107 says: "Even if traffic lights or crosswalks are not present, drivers must still yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway. Never attempt to pass any vehicle that has stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross. Drivers must take every possible precaution to avoid a collision with pedestrians. " How can you possibly miss the "Never attempt to pass any vehicle that has stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross" part? Do you really not see that it directly contradicts what you wrote? And your last reply has almost nothing to do with your previous reply, on which I was commenting. Way to change the subject.


Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 2:18 p.m.

OK KJMC I read it. There is nothing in it that supports your post here nor contradicts mine. A bicyclist should never ride on a pedestrian crosswalk. You will not find a law preventing that but if you do bicycling research like I have you will find tons of information on how dangerous practices lead to injury. For example, I was on a side street off Dexter Rd a few days ago. There is a pedestrian crosswalk continuation of sidewalk lines. Because of a hedge row to my right and obstructions to my left, I could not see oncoming traffic unless I moved forward. When I could see my car was in the crosswalk. A bicycle traveling faster than a pedestrian on the east bound (wrong way) sidewalk could run into my car unable to stop in time. That would constitute the speed exception to fault. You cannot expect a driver to get out of a car and stand up to improve view. Anyone, pedestrian or cyclists should never cross street until traffic clears. And no car should ever stop for a person standing on a sidewalk at a crosswalk. It is just plain stupid and A2's ordinance needs to be thrown out. The law is traffic has to stop for a person in a crosswalk but anyone crossing needs to make sure they are not walking into the path of a car and they should not proceed until traffic is clear, not under the expectation that traffic will stop for them which I think is utterly rude and inconsiderate, not to mention dangerous.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 8:09 p.m.

@Tano, you're the one who stated "failing to yield implies that one is aware of the need to yield and does not do it." So, as I asked, if a driver is texting or talking on a phone, and they do not "see" a pedestrian, are they failing to yield? They have not "seen the pedestrian", due to their choosing distraction. It's quite a simple question. I'm sorry you do not understand. If a car is stopped in the middle of Washtenaw, and not at a light, the light bulb ought to go on that something might be happening. Carry on.......


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 7:02 p.m.

Mick - go back and re-read Michigan "What Every Driver Must Know" (,1607,7-127-1642-103522--,00.html) and we'll chat. I suggest page 107. Tru - actually, the City's own bike plans called for an end to the misguided attempt to move cyclists to asphalt sidewalks, starting back in 1992. A sidewalk is a sidewalk, no matter how wide it is or what it's made of. That's why AASHTO made their 1999 recommendations even stronger against them. Asphalt sidewalks are great for walking, running, blading, etc, and are probably reasonable for kids and families with kids traveling slowly. But adult cyclists should be using the roads. And yes, when I have a destination around there, I bike on Washtenaw. Ticks off some motorists, but that's their problem. Yes, she would have been better off making a vehicular left turn. If she was just crossing, if she were crossing as a vehicle operator, she wouldn't have been likely to blithely pull into that second lane, when she couldn't see if there was someone coming.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 6:17 p.m.

RE: "If she'd been operating her bike as a vehicle, the whole thing wouldn't have been a problem." Oh really? So where should she have come from TO that particular point where she (and many others) would like to have crossed. And what actual ROAD leads to that point other than the one indicated? Are you saying that the cyclist "should have" been traveling ON Washtenaw and then made a "vehicle like" turn to the SIDE of Washtenaw she wanted to get to? This idea of perpetually sticking only to roads for cyclists is kinda "odd" when there are several roads which no prudent (or sane) cyclist dares to use. Also, I suppose you support tearing up all the bike paths in the city, too. A little late for that "suggestion" I think. ;-)


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 5:57 p.m.

Not Trying to be Objective, That is a ridiculous response. The driver in this case was not "unaware" because he was illegally distracting himself from driving. He was unaware of the biker because she was hidden behind another car and rode into his lane without warning.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 4:52 p.m.

@Tano, your argument is shaky- are texting drivers and cell phone using drivers who are "unaware" therefore off the hook for "failing to yield?"


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 3:59 p.m.

KJM while I agree with much of your posts, I have to take exception with your statement if you see the lane next to you stop at a crosswalk you have to stop too. That was never taught and you are not supposed to stop erratically in traffic unless you see a reason to. Otherwise you are impeding traffic and could be the victim of a rear end collision. You see a car stopped and you think you have to stop then you hope the guy behind you feels the same way. This is why A2's ordinance requiring stopping for a pedestrian standing on the sidewalk waiting to cross is so stupid. It is completely contrary to state law-you have to stop for a pedestrian already in a crosswalk- because it impedes traffic flow. The law is not supposed to be slanted in favor of a pedestrian, it is supposed to safely allow traffic and pedestrian flow. A pedestrian should never enter a crosswalk until it is safe to do so in all lanes of traffic. No local ordinances should contradict state law.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 3:28 p.m.

You broke the law - means you broke the law. In any case, you would be nuts to cross the wastenaw street without checking a few times. I have tried it on stadium and wastenaw - it is very uncomfortable at best.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 3:06 p.m.

@Bob - that was the first sentence of my third paragraph. Are you disagreeing?


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 3:05 p.m.

What foobar said. If you're paying attention to the situation on the road, like we were all taught in driver's ed, you *see* the lane next to you stopping at a crosswalk, and respond by braking yourself. Even if it wasn't at a clearly marked crosswalk, you should slow down and be prepared to stop if you can't see why the lane next to you is stopping without an obvious reason. Basic defensive driving - it's all over "What Every Driver Must Know." So you're approaching a marked crosswalk with an overhead sign. The right lane has a minivan or SUV stopping at the crosswalk. (Must have been big, or he would have been able to see over it - cyclists are higher when on a bike than pedestrians and cars, and he was in a taller vehicle too.) The reasonable conclusion is???


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 2:04 p.m.

@Tano: You asked what a different driver might have done differently. (There are things the cyclist could have done differently, but that's a different question than what you asked.) It's a good, fair question, and the basic answer (based on the facts we know) is if you are going to drive, you *have* to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Cruising down the street below the speed limit does not absolve you of the responsibility to drive defensively. According to the article: "He'd driven Washtenaw many times but didn't know there was a crosswalk at Platt Road, he said." The crosswalk is marked. You have to be aware of your environment. Plus, he'd had multiple opportunities to learn there was a crosswalk there. "He didn't notice anyone stopping and traffic was moving in his lane." The other lane was stopped. You have to be aware of your environment. If you are in the left lane, be very aware if the right lane stops. If the right lane stops, be aware there might be a reason (e.g. a pedestrian, a cyclist, trash in the roadway, a family of ducks, or whatever).


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:40 p.m.

How can you accuse someone of failing to yield to a pedestrian when that person was not visible to the driver? "Failing to yield" implies that one is aware of the need to yield and does not do it. If you cannot see a reason to yield (you cannot see the pedestrian), then you have not "failed" to do something that you should have done. Same with passing the vehicle stopped in the right lane. The driver here had no reason to believe that the car was stopped for a pedestrian. Apparently traffic was heavy enough so that the car being stopped was not remarkable. Finally, how on earth can you claim that the driver did not use care to avoid a collision? What on earth could he have done differently? Please explain what you would have done differently if you were driving that car.

Basic Bob

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:18 p.m.

the cyclist mounted on the bike and so was operating a vehicle in an unsafe manner. if she wanted to be a pedestrian, she should have behaved as one.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:45 p.m.

"The driver of the Explorer [ that struck the woman ] was cited for lack of automobile insurance" The lack of auto insurance speaks volumes about the driver's character, and mindset toward operation of a vehicle. It would be nice to know the details of his driving record, and criminal history, if any. And, also, how long he had been driving without insurance. "He'd driven Washtenaw many times but didn't know there was a crosswalk at Platt Road, he said." Did he know there is a law that mandates automobile insurance?

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 7:41 p.m.

"Do you routinely stop at all crosswalks even when you are moving 43 mph with traffic and don't see anyone in the crosswalk?" I slow to whatever speed is necessary in order to evaluate the potential presence of pedestrians, and whatever speed reduction is necessary in order to make a safe stop. So if cars are stopped at a crosswalk, that means a major reduction in speed with an expectation of a stop. Shadows or bad lighting? Slower. More pedestrians in area? Slower. Etc. I see countless drivers who seem to "pretend" they don't see pedestrians in crosswalks, actively trying to cross.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 5:51 p.m.

Nicholas, Noting the existence of the crosswalk would not have changed anything. Do you routinely stop at all crosswalks even when you are moving 43 mph with traffic and don't see anyone in the crosswalk? The report says that traffic was sufficiently heavy such that the curb lane was stop and go, so the stopped cars to his right were not remarkable. None of this has anything to do with his insurance status.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 4:47 p.m.

I'm thinking that if the driver has driven Washtenaw "many times", he's an adult who needs to check on insurance validity. I wonder how long ago the insurance expired. A few weeks? Several months? I also agree with @Nicholas (OMG). Whether you drive a road frequently or not, you should pay attention to signage. Things can change- speed limits, crosswalks added, etc. if you drive a car, it's your responsibility. That being said, I would never assume as a pedestrian that a driver IS paying attention. I see far too many cars blow through crosswalks, including those where kids are VERY obvious present) (and near a school), as well as texting drivers, or idiots on their phone who are clueless to the world around them.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

"Do you see anything that he should have done differently?" Yes. He should have noted the "Crosswalk" sign that hangs across and above the roadway, he should have noted the crosswalk markings on the road surface, and the signage at the sides of the road, and he should have noted the stopped cars at the crosswalk.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

You may read volumes into it, but that is entirely besides the point. From the descriptions of the events, it seems that any one of us could have been in his shoes. Do you see anything that he should have done differently? If not, then your comment is really a cheap shot...

Basic Bob

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

i was cited for that. i left the card at home. funny how the secretary of state knows you have insurance when you register. is it possible they could share that with the police?

Kyle Feldscher

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:03 p.m.

Nicholas - According to the report, the Explorer is owned by his brother but the driver is the primary driver of the vehicle. He told police he wasn't aware the insurance had expired.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:44 p.m.

The light at Platt Road and Washtenaw Avenue is being dictated by the Arbor Hill development which will require intervention to allow the increased flow of traffic expected to be drawn to the new shopping mall. One major entrance to Arbor Hills is along Platt Road just across from the entrance to the Mary Lou Murray Recreation Center. In fact, the competition from both sites to gain access to Platt Road will make for long lines of cars along Platt Road and extending into the two sites. Drivers along Washtenaw Avenue will not only be slowed by the intersection light but also by the two curb cuts east of the light which will also allow vehicles to enter and exit Arbor Hills immediately off Washtenaw Avenue. "Reimagine Washtenaw" lists improving traffic flow along Washtenaw Avenue as a major objective. However, every other provision included in the "Reimagine Washtenaw" plan will only slow and complicate traffic movement. The "Reimagine Washtenaw" proponents are really interested in facilitating land development along Washtenaw Avenue which will be profitable to developers and possibly to members of Reimagine Washtenaw design team, IMHO. Citizens will do well by denying funding to the Washtenaw Corridor Improvement Authority when a millage or other special assessment is requested for voter approval.

Gretchen Ridenour

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 7:07 p.m.

Veracity: I am all for safety measures that will benefit all that use Washtenaw, and like you, I have concerns about the ReImagine Washtenaw Project. In recent weeks it has taken me 10 minutes in the morning to travel west on Washtenaw from US 23 to Platt. I'm assuming that traffic light timing has been changed, not a sudden increase in traffic. I worry what will happen if traffic is decreased to one lane in each direction as was one option mentioned in ReImagine Washtenaw.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

Bassic Bob - TIF revenue is one way a municipality can benefit financially from new development. Unfortunately, the City and, to a certain extent, the County as well have been exempting developers from paying TIF. In Arbor Hill's case, the City will not collect TIF for 19 years until the developer has been reimbursed for Brownfield remediation and site development costs. Of course the City paid to upgrade sewer and utility services which are usually paid for by developers in other municipalities. Tano- Development can be very beneficial for a community when the development is done by an established business which will likely be profitable for many years. The new Costco store on Ellsworth Road is an excellent example. However, Arbor Hills is a speculative development, meaning that at the time that the project received City Planning Commission and City Council approval not a single business had been identified which would occupy even one square foot of the 90,000 commercial square footage available when construction is completed. Now a number of small niche-type business are leasing space but no large anchor store like a Kroger or CVS. How successful these small enterprises will be is yet to be seen. Success is not guaranteed. And, as mentioned in my reply to Basic Bob above, the City has given back expected TIF payments which represents the prime financial benefit to the City.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:30 p.m.

Whats wrong with developing vacant property along a commercial strip? What is wrong with developers making a profit on a project? We could greatly improve the flow of traffic along Washtenaw by getting all the businesses to shut down, but that would probably not be such a great idea for other reasons.

Basic Bob

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:12 p.m.

the tif does not required approval by the taxpayers, only the city council and township trustees. especially when property values are about to rise because of the economy at large, this is a way for politicians to redirect money into their pet projects to qualify for federal matching funds. the state road corridor improvement authority was created with only minimal public notice and money earmarked to tidy up derelict property is now being spent to widen the way from the upper saline mcmansions to costco and the mall.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:31 p.m.

This article fails to mention that the crosswalk was designed at the School Of Wishful Thinking. And yes, the light is going in there only because of the shopping center construction.

Kyle Feldscher

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:42 p.m.

I got ya, Brad. Don't worry.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:14 p.m.

That's the original crosswalk I'm talking about - not the new intersection.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:52 p.m.

Thanks, Kyle :)

Kyle Feldscher

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:41 p.m.

Brad - I could not verify the School Of Wishful Thinking's credibility. Otherwise, I would have included that information.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:29 p.m.

Here are some things I believe should be added to the pedestrian ordinance. 1. All pedestrian crosswalks must contain sidewalk curb cuts and pavement markings. 2. Where autos are traveling more than 34 miles an hour, the crosswalks shall have yield or stop to pedestrian signage. 3. Where autos are traveling more than 44 miles an hour, the crosswalks shall have refuge islands or lights for the pedestrians.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : noon

What is interesting about this story is that there is NO mention that the lady on the bike should have gotten off her bike and "walked" across the intersection. Basic biking 101 always requires that a biker walk their bike across an intersection. Had she DONE this, the truck still may have hit the bike, BUT she would not have been thrown 20 feet.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:53 p.m.

I was once nearly struck while crossing at a traffic light, in a marked crosswalk, with the light. The SUV driver was texting and then suddenly surged ahead without looking. I was slowly riding my bike across the crosswalk. Because I had some momentum, I was able to swerve away from the bumper of her vehicle in a desperate emergency move. That 5 or 6 feet of "swerve" was the only thing that kept me from getting hit. Had I been walking the bike, I would have surely been hit on my left side, with the bike on my right. And I probably would have either fallen on the bike and been trapped under the SUV, or been sent flying.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:23 p.m.

I had orginally heard that she was walking the bike across. It helps to get this clarification.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:20 p.m.

I couldn't agree more. Get off your bike and walk. I live in this area. I usually cross at Huron Pkwy or Arlington with the light. If I cross Washtenaw in front of the Rec Center, I get off and walk my bike and make sure the cars see me and start to slow down. Drivers heading west at 6 pm are blinded by the sun. Even with the new light, if you're on a bike and using the sidewalk, get off and walk.

Jim Osborn

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:18 p.m.

She could have then carefully peered around the stopped car to be sure that the next lane was safe. Instead, the stopped car blocked her view, and being on a faster moving bike reduced her time to notice, and even if she did, she still might have reacted too late. Walking across, as children once were taught, is safer. The Ann Arbor police do us no favor by allowing bkes to be on sidewalks and then crossing while going the wrong way. They either need to be a legal vehicle, or a ped. A bike going against traffic on the sidewalk and then crossing streets is a hazzard to turnign vehicles. (No, shis woman did not do this)


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : noon

I try to avoid even driving my car on that stretch of road let alone even think of riding a bike across it. I thought we are supposed to walk our bikes across these crosswalks anyway.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 3:48 p.m.

I do not think there is a law about walking your bike across a pedestrian crossing but it is what you should do. Huge volumes of research show it is dangerous to bike on a sidewalk, i.e., acting like a pedestrian on a bike. You should bike in traffic, and obey all traffic law.

Jim Osborn

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:12 p.m.

Come on, this is Ann Arbor. You should cross a street, cell phone in hand, looking at it and not at approaching traffic. I'm always amazed, as I would never trust my life to strangers who could be texting whild driving. But this is just me, and I was careful, even when walking to kindergarden alone at age 5.Yes, neighborhoods were safe back then.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:08 p.m.

I always learned that the law says you have to WALK your bike if you are using a crosswalk. Never looked it up however.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 11:59 a.m.

From the picture one can see the crosswalk is some distance from the new traffic light. Many pedestrians will consider them unrelated, despite the story. As long as the crosswalk remains as is in its present location there will be accidents there. Heavy traffic slows in one lane, others travel legally at speed in the other. If the slow lane stops how is a driver unfamiliar to the area to know it could be a pedestrian in the road? Either remove the crosswalk, add flashers (which too often pedestrians crossing Plymouth Road don't use), or add a Hawk signal there. But leave the crosswalk as is, and another death will certainly happen.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:29 p.m.

I believe a previous article said they would remove the existing crosswalk and replace it with a signalized crosswalk at the intersection.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:07 p.m.

I assume the reason people slow in the right lane there, is because someone is turning right onto Platt. I have a feeling I am definitely not the only one.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 11:57 a.m.

"No criminal charges were brought against the driver of the Explorer. First Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Konrad Siller wrote in a statement that there was not enough evidence to show the driver made a moving violation." What about the pedestrian? I thought that regardless of "right-of-way," negligently stepping into the path of a moving vehicle was illegal?

peg dash fab

Mon, Jul 1, 2013 : 4:49 p.m.

Mick52 writes: "Bicycle riders are not considered pedestrians." I refer you to, "257.660c Operation of bicycle upon sidewalk or pedestrian crosswalk." (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. The law is a ... oh, wait, they have censors here.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.

The article states "the driver of the vehicle was cited for lack of auto insurance." Also "he'd driven Washtenaw many times." No insurance = bad idea. I also side with @basicbob. Why do bicyclists RIDE through crosswalks? The very word crossWALK indicates one should WALK. Perhaps this poor woman would have been more aware of other vehicles had she been walking, instead of "driving" her bike. My kids learned this in "safety town." If you're in a bike lane, by all means, ride. Bike in bike lane= vehicle. Bike in crosswalk (when walking) = pedestrian.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 3:46 p.m.

Bicycle riders are not considered pedestrians. That is why they are supposed to ride on the street and obey traffic laws. Some cities have made it a violation to ride a bicycle on a street due to danger to pedestrians. I think the officers erred by saying the driver was noted as doing any hazardous action. Typically in traffic control as in any law, the person cited, charged does it intentionally. Also one thing that negates liability in traffic is speed. This is why biking where pedestrians walk is dangerous, your speed is so much faster than a pedestrian a driver cannot see you in time to stop.

peg dash fab

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Why are bicycle riders considered pedestrians?

Kyle Feldscher

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:42 p.m.

Tano - The driver failed to yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk, per the city's ordinance.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:22 p.m.

Kyle, What is it exactly that the investigators thought that the driver did wrong? Why was he "assigned a hazardous action"?


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:13 p.m.

I believe that the pedestrian has unconditional right-of-way in a crosswalk or controlled intersection. I think it's crossing elsewhere that carries the responsibility of not walking in front of cars. Not that it's a bad idea in any event. Physics still trumps right-of-way - every time.

Basic Bob

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

since the operator of the bicycle was mounted, he was a vehicle and should have been charged with reckless operation.

Kyle Feldscher

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:42 p.m.

Billy, I would really suggest reading the story before accusing me of slanting anything against anyone. Here's the passage you're looking for: "Both the driver of the Explorer and the bicyclist were assigned hazardous actions by investigators. According to the report, the driver did not stop before entering the crosswalk and yielding the right of way to the bicyclist. However, investigators said the bicyclist should not have suddenly left the curb and gone into the path of a vehicle that was unable to stop." It was the paragraph above the section you pasted in your original comment.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:31 p.m.

Well then it would have been nice had you mentioned that, instead of continuing to give the slant that the DRIVER was to blame.

Kyle Feldscher

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:09 p.m.

Billy - The police did assign the pedestrian a "hazardous action" as well for leaving the sidewalk and going into the path of the Explorer. Both the driver and the pedestrian were assigned hazardous actions, under the same ordinance. However, because they both did something wrong in the eyes of investigators, it's impossible to charge one of them for the crash.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 11:43 a.m.

"I would have swerved off the road if I would have had the time," he told police just after the crash. "I can't believe this happened, it's just surreal.'" This is a statement which, as a pedestrian, I always keep in the back of my head - especially when jogging down Washtenaw, or walking my dog up and down downtown Huron. Why, why, why would this individual think it is OK to swerve off of the road and onto the sidewalk? In this case, one might argue that it would have been to "save a life." Ok - but how about those times where people swerve simply to avoid car-on-car contact? People exist on the sidewalk, and people do not have the benefit of 4,500 lbs of protective sheet metal. Please motorists, do not consider the sidewalk to be your go-to collision avoidance lane.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

I'm thinking the driver's statement was less than literal, especially considering he wasn't even in the curb lane. He would have had to drive over the stopped car in the right lane and *then* onto the sidewalk. Nobody but you said anything remotely approaching "but it's OK to drive on the sidewalk". You'll just have to hash that one out with your straw man.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

GoNavy, where do you get the idea the driver of the Explorer would have swerved onto the sidewalk? He apparently was in the left lane as the traffic was stopped in the right lane. He could have swerved into the left turn lane.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:19 p.m.

I think he was simply trying to express the sentiment that he would have done anything he could to avoid hitting her, if only he could have seen her....I am sure he would have tried to avoid any pedestrians as well...


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

That rates a full "whatever!".

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 11:35 a.m.

This traffic light was a bad idea. A Hawk crossing signal that could be activated by pedestrians wishing to cross would have been sufficient if the goal was to increase pedestrian safety at that spot. Now tens of thousands of people per day instead of a few hundred will be inconvenienced for what benefit? The Ann Arbor crosswalk ordnance is another bad idea. The ordnance should be reset to conform exactly to state law and be in synch with the signs, which say State Law STOP for pedestrians in crosswalk. In a town with so many drivers from out of town, it continues to be an unwise idea to have a local ordnance different from what the posted signs must say (we cannot design and post our own crosswalk signs under Michigan law). Lastly, Ann Arbor's jaywalking ordnance encourages all kinds of bad behavior. In essence, you can cross a street any time, anywhere you like as long as it isn't "dangerous" to do so, which I guess is defined in retrospect by whether or not you didn't get hit! I am not advocating changing the jaywalking ordnance, just amazed at its audacity, and only pointing out the source of the ethos in our town that drives such crazy behavior as can be witnessed everyday in the downtown and campus areas of town. The cardinal rule of walking around safely in this town has become you can walk anywhere you want when you want, as long as you don't assume the cars will stop because frequently they don't, even if there is a painted and signed crosswalk there.

Cendra Lynn

Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 6:19 a.m.

You've all missed the point. I've been in A2 since '66 and quickly learned that if you are walking, you have the right of way; if you're bicycling you have the right of way and carte blanche to weave onto sidewalks or grassy areas if you wish to; if you're driving you get points for hitting pedestrians. Here are the real rules: 1 - If you're on your feet, move quickly out of the path of oncoming cars. If you're on a bike, have your wits about you and look in all directions but up as much as possible. If you're in a car, you go slowly enough that you can stop if anything pops in front of you. If a crosswalk is full of pedestrians, move forward as slowly as possible but make certain to keep on moving. Ignore yells and shaking fists or yell and shake you fist back, your preference. It is YOUR job not to collide with anyone or anything. Note that ordinances, laws, numbers of people moving in each of three ways are not mentioned. No matter which method I am using to get around, I always assume that people using the other two methods are determined to collide with me. I assume I am invisible to them. If I am on a bike, I get off it and walk across any busy street or intersection, giving myself time to see who is coming from where. I must say, Stephen, that ordnance is not something I'd considered before. No matter the form of propulsion, I think that idea has really great possibilities!


Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 3:57 a.m.

I haven't actually been down near State and South U for a few years (or at least not at a busy time), but as I recall that is indeed a difficult situation. A brighter mind than mine could probably come up with some solutions. If the university wanted to, they could employ a traffic cop at relevant times (think how Stadium and Main is handled on football Saturdays).

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 10:55 p.m.

@KJMClark: While bicycling to work, I have seen students jump over the tall black iron fence in the median on S. University rather than use the legal cross walks just 100 feet away. I have waited 10 minutes at a single crosswalk on S. University to get an opportunity to pass through because I stupidly turned down there at the wrong time of day in a car during the school day. You want to make it even more pedestrian friendly? No, pedestrians, bicyclists and car drivers need to follow the rules a bit more, be considerate and aware of all their surroundings when they want to do something unconventional to save some time, and in general treat each other with more respect. The government cannot legislate or terra form respect and common sense, it must be taught by parents, teachers, mentors and peers and then internalized into the hearts of our fellow citizens.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 6:32 p.m.

Arth - I'll mostly agree with that (the Downtown vs. Campus part). The point Mr. Ranzini is unwilling to consider is that the environment right around campus is heavily pedestrian in traffic, but still designed primarily to cater to motorists. Motorists already think that area is hideous to drive through, because the City has slowly made it more pedestrian friendly. But if they made it pedestrian friendly in proportion to the number of trips by foot vs. the number of trips by vehicle, they'd make it much *more* pedestrian friendly. The pedestrians are really just reacting to high supply of desired crossing opportunities, vs. the low supply of crossing opportunities, by making their own crossing opportunities. What happens when there's high demand and low supply, but the supply is constrained by government action? (Come on Stephen, you should be able to answer this..) That would be a black market. The demand will be met, even if not by officially sanctioned means. See how this applies to the way people cross the streets on campus?


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 4:09 p.m.

From my judgment, I would guess there might be more foot traffic near campus, but more vehicular traffic near Main. Following simple rules, we can all share the road. Pedestrians simply do not need the right to walk right in front of traffic at random times.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

So you DON'T agree that the majority of people on a COLLEGE CAMPUS are walking or biking rather than driving a car from East Quad to the Diag or something? Ridiculous.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

@KJMClark: As a frequent bicyclist, pedestrian and driver, what I see and experience is apparently not what you see and experience. I don't agree with your analysis of the underlying cause, so we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 2:53 p.m.

Do you want an answer to your question, or not? The *symptom* you see is pedestrians crossing at times and places that don't make sense. You completely ignored the reason for it. You're a smarter guy than to think that college students really want to get hit. So think hard. What's the root cause of the problem? Pedestrians trying to cross the street in a way that's convenient for them that isn't convenient for motorists. If you assume the motorists should have right of way, then the resulting problem is the pedestrians. If you don't assume the motorists should have right of way, then maybe the problem isn't the pedestrians, but the way the system has been laid out for the convenience of the motorists. If the majority of the traffic is on foot, shouldn't the people on foot have right of way over the people operating vehicles? If not, why not? Shouldn't they at least have ample safe crossing opportunities? Looks to me like they don't (and I was once a student there.)

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 2:21 p.m.

@KJMClark wrote: "The problem on Campus is that the traffic engineers refuse to count pedestrians as traffic. If they did..." Actually, the problem I see is that students and other young pedestrians jump out in front of moving cars mid-block and expect cars to jam on the brakes, or jump out in signalized cross-walks despite a red pedestrian crossing signal because they misjudge the traffic. Or start crossing the street after the traffic light turned green and the cars are starting to move.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 2:11 p.m.

@TinyArtist: Thanks for the correction! I'll try to spell it correctly next time...


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:08 p.m.

Oops, sorry. [sic] goes after ordnance, not before it.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:06 p.m.

"Lastly, Ann Arbor's jaywalking [sic] ordnance encourages all kinds of bad behavior." The rest of that paragraph is a rant about the problems the ordinance engenders. You wrote it, not me. Or maybe you were saying that the particular type of artillery Ann Arbor uses causes bad pedestrian behavior? I get it, you're talking about Ann Arbor's cannons, not the ordinance! The problem on Campus is that the traffic engineers refuse to count pedestrians as traffic. If they did, pedestrians would get a lot more signal time and would have many more crossing opportunities. Never mind that the state law definition of traffic includes pedestrians. Too hard to count pedestrians, so it's easier to just say there's a lot, and avoid changing the signal system to deal with the actual traffic. There probably should be a pedestrian scramble crosswalk at State & Liberty and State & William (maybe at Washington too), and two phases per cycle giving pedestrians a protected signal. But that would snarl motorist traffic. Can't have that, even if the pedestrian traffic count is higher than the vehicle count.

Basic Bob

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:02 p.m.

the pedestrian law as written encourages rude and dangerous behavior. at state and liberty, i wait for the crosswalk to clear before making a right turn. this results in either a car darting in front of me to make a left turn and then block the intersection. or bicycles and pedestrians continuing to cross until the left goes red.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:53 p.m.

Ordnance refers to military supply, In this here case, you need the "i"

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:51 p.m.

@Billy: Thanks for the kind compliment! @Jim Osborn: LOL! I choose #3 though!

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:45 p.m.

@KJMCClark: Nowhere in my post do I say that I am against Ann Arbor's jaywalking ordnance. In fact, as a downtown resident, I jaywalk all the time, and appreciate not having to worry about cops handing me a ticket for crossing mid-block! Unlike many however, I don't jump in front of cars expecting them to stop while texting and not looking up, like the young lady did who almost got hit by my car Friday afternoon on S. University! If the jaywalking ordnance isn't the source of the crazy pedestrian behavior in this town what do you think is? I have travelled all over the world and in my experience, Ann Arbor is unique in its crazy pedestrian jaywalking.

Jim Osborn

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:26 p.m.

There are three types of jaywalking laws: 1) California type, where if seen by a policeman, even if no cars are in sight, you get a ticket. Silly 2) Ann Arbor type, where a person can step off a curb, cause a car's driver to slam on his brakes, the car even is a police car, no ticket. Silly. 3) The way it should be. Legal if jaywalking does not interfere with traffic. Since type 3 exists nowhere, I'll take type one since I'll look out for a cop and then jaywalk if no cop is seen. In Ann Arbor, people step out in front of vehicles far too often, and drivers have to watch out for fools a bit too much.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:22 p.m.

Ann Arbor's "jaywalking" ordinance is the state police recommended ordinance, in effect in most of the cities and townships in the state. "R 28.1706 Rule 706. Pedestrians; yielding right-of-way; violation as civil infraction. (1) Every pedestrian who crosses a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the roadway. " You should say you aren't happy with the state recommended ordinance. If you don't like it, feel free to move to another state, but that recommendation is from Uniform Vehicle Code, so you'll probably need to move to another country.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:16 p.m.

"Now tens of thousands of people per day instead of a few hundred will be inconvenienced for what benefit?" I like you Stephen.....unlike a lot of commenters here, you can step back and look at the "big picture." In fact you do it a lot, and I respect that greatly. Most people can't even begin to do that because they're so caught up in the microcosm.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

The Arbor Hills shopping center was a bad idea, not this traffic light. Flow into and out of this center would have necessitated a new light regardless of the prior accident.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 11:34 a.m.

I hope the city times the lights on Washtenaw better with the new installation. 80% of the traffic is on Washtenaw, but the amount of time they stay green during heavy traffic seems less than it could be. A light that has 150 cars deep on Washtenaw, but only 5 on Huron Pkwy seems poorly timed.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 11:51 p.m.

How many cars are at the lights on Washtenaw and on Huron Parkway at any moment depends of the place in the traffic light rotation. Obviously, if it's just after the southbound vehicles have had the green lights (which is just after the northbound vehicles have), there will be few vehicles on Huron Parkway.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 11:25 a.m.

The signal installed at Washtenaw and Platt is to accommodate the new shopping center. It likely would have been installed without the tragedy. Adding the modest marginal cost of a crosswalk at the same location seems reasonable. All of us make mistakes. Insurance companies exist because many of us make mistakes when driving. Glibly blaming the victim of a tragic accident for the installation of a crosswalk at a minimum marginal cost is less common and rather despicable in some people's minds. Such blame does not seem to contribute much to public policy. Finally, inasmuch as there were signs at the approach to the existing crosswalk from each direction and a lighted sign spanning Washetnaw warning of the crosswalk, I would not so flippantly blame the bicyclist. I believe the new crosswalk is a wise decision and hope it contributes to greater safety for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 11:41 a.m.

As I stated at the time, if the new shopping center required a red light, it should not have been approved. That area is already gridlocked frequently during rush hour and often the gridlock extends all the way up Washtenaw past the split with Stadium.

Basic Bob

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 11:33 a.m.

"I would not so flippantly blame the bicyclist." Per the story, "Both the driver of the Explorer and the bicyclist were assigned hazardous actions by investigators."


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 11:15 a.m.

Hard to believe another light on Washtenaw, one of the busiest, if not the busiest road in Ann Arbor. This story was about a terrible accident, but if the effect of ever accident is a new light we are in trouble. Did they ever consider a hawk light system like one on Huron? They need something that goes red only when needed, not one that is going to stop the general flow of traffic on a regular basis.

Becky H

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 7:14 p.m.

So many A2 drivers have no idea how to deal with hawk lights because they're not standard. Nobody seems to know that if the coast is clear, drivers can stop & then go on a flashing red. But what's worse is that distracted or zoned out drivers don't even notice the hawk light and plow right through. I've almost been hit twice when the walk sign was on (once by a lady who was speeding down the hill on Huron and talking on her phone--she NEVER saw me, even after I had to jump out of the path of her car).


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 5:39 p.m.

Fred, If you had actually read what I wrote, you would understand that I meant, and said "IF" the lights were timed correctly, then it would not be much of a problem. I did not say that there would be no problem given how wonderfully the lights are synchronized in AA.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 3:36 p.m.

I emphatically disagree. No hawk lights at all, no new crosswalks. I have lived in A2 for almost 40 years, I have biked and walked every street and I have never had to wait more than couple of minutes at any hour to be able to safely cross a street. This endeavor is a gross over reaction. No accident occurs without someone doing something wrong, actually they are not "accidents" they are collisions.

Fred Pettit

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:42 p.m.

Tano, you must not drive much in Ann Arbor if you think the lights are properly timed. For a city that worries so much about green house gases we spend a lot of unnecessary time waiting for lights to turn green. Try going west on Huron then Jackson after four o'clock during the week.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

If the timing of the new light is coordinated with the lights at Stadium, and at Huron, then interruptions to the flow of traffic should be minimal.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:11 p.m.

For that particular crossing, a hawk system would have worked. However with the new development a fixed light was coming anyway. That is the real reason for the light, not the accident.

Robert Katz

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 11 a.m.

The problem with all these crosswalks is they encourage poor pedestrian habits. And those habits are fraught with additional danger when applied to someone on a bicycle. A bicycle is a mode of transportation that is closer to being a car than a pedestrian. So having a bicycle dart into traffic is pretty much like having a car come out from a side street without regard to oncoming traffic. Whether we do or don't need a traffic signal at this particular spot shouldn't be based on the extremely poor choice that one person on a bicycle made. But that is how our society functions. Decisions get made all the time as a knee jerk response to a particular incident.

Kevin McNulty

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 3:32 p.m.

I agree with Robert Katz. Bicycles cannot act as pedestrians on sidewalks and as vehicles. Also the number of crosswalks is over the top. Take a drive on Miller west of N. Main St. With A2's idiot crosswalk ordinance it forces you to not look at the road while driving you have to search for people approaching the crosswalk. Kyle I take exception to your statement that this accident wouldn't have happened if there were a light there. With all due respect to the injured cyclist here, in A2, I no longer have any expectation that a bicycle will stop for a stop sign or stop light. I urge AAPD to drastically hunt down and cite cyclists who constantly violate traffic control devices.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 1:41 p.m.

@Wondering: isn't this precisely why bicyclists were taught to walk their bikes across streets when using pedestrian cross walks? The cyclists was in a pedestrian crossing where there was a high risk that other traffic would not stop. A cyclist who walks their bike across in that situation could have paused while in front of the stopped car and had time to assess whether there was traffic in the obscured lanes and taken appropriate action. To try to cross as quickly as possible when oncoming traffic's line of sight to you is obscured is a just not safe as this sad accident demonstrates.


Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:42 p.m.

Thank you, Kyle. I agree with you and the thoughtful article you wrote--this tragic accident would not have happened if there had been a traffic signal instead of a crosswalk on a four-lane extremely busy high-speed road with very poor visibility. And if anyone has ever ridden a bicycle across a busy road, you try to cross the road as quickly as possible to avoid traffic that you see coming in the distance. No doubt the bicyclist's view of the approaching car was also obstructed by the cars stopped in the far righthand lane. Which is why it is extremely dangerous to have crosswalks that supposedly require drivers to stop for pedestrians on very busy four-lane high-speed roads.

Kyle Feldscher

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 12:05 p.m.

Rob - It's true that the story does feature the accident heavily, but I state in the story that we took a look back at this incident because the lack of a traffic light and this accident are inextricably linked. If there was a traffic light, this accident would not have happened.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 11:48 a.m.

The "shopping disaster" should not have been approved, and I said so at the time it was working through the approval process, but our city leaders were too eager to grab the millage cash from a big project even if it was an unwise project. That area is already gridlocked frequently during rush hour and often the gridlock extends all the way up Washtenaw past the split with Stadium.

Rob MI

Mon, Jun 17, 2013 : 11:14 a.m.

The traffic light is not the result of this accident--rather, it's the result of the shopping disaster about to open on the south side of Washtenaw. This fact is mentioned in the article, but the article in its near entirety--including the headline--does make it sound as though the accident is the cause for the placement. I do not care for this article as a result of this slant.