Archive for Friday, June 20, 2008


Pedestrians in busy traffic areas may be careless, so those driving motor vehicles need to be even more alert.

June 20, 2008


Pedestrians are supposed to have the right-of-way in traffic areas, but it's an unwise individual who tests that notion too hard or too often.

Another person trying to cross a busy highway in the Kansas City area the other day was hit and killed by a semi-trailer truck whose driver might well have had no chance to avoid the tragedy.

It can be a breath-taking sight to watch someone try to walk across wide and bustling thoroughfares such as West Sixth Street and West 23rd Street. Cautious as they may appear, one can't help wondering if they have any idea how quickly a car or truck can close the gap between it and the walker.

It is hazardous enough at controlled intersections where there are stop signs and traffic lights. Drivers intent on getting somewhere in a hurry - and perhaps distracted by cell phones or fiddling with their radio or CD player - are not nearly as alert as they should be about people who might venture from curbs, with or without the traffic lights in their favor.

Then we get to places like West Sixth and West 23rd where there are no medians to offer even modest protection. Controlled intersections are few and far between and it is understandable why somebody on foot does not want to walk a number of blocks to get to them. Particularly dangerous are the areas just east of 23rd and Iowa and east of Sixth and Iowa. Yet we regularly see people, some of them not particularly young or agile, trying to negotiate a crossing.

There is an old statistic that everyone needs to keep in mind, whether walking or driving. The rate of 60 miles per hour amounts to 88 feet per second. That means 30 mph is 44 feet per second. Both pedestrians and drivers need to be mindful of how quickly a vehicle can close in on a pedestrian.

There are reasons, often good ones, why pedestrians venture out into fast-paced regions. Sometimes they have no choice, as in the case of a flat tire on a busy highway that necessitates crossing a road on foot. Whatever the situation, pedestrians are supposed to have the right of way.

There will be cases of carelessness and bad judgment by walkers of all ages and physical capabilities. That means that the people behind the wheels of vehicles large and small need to control their speeds and be constantly alert to prevent tragic accidents.


Orwell 10 years ago

KSA_21_3503:You've just proved the old saying that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Evidently your research stopped one section too soon.K.S.A. 8-1535 says (and I'll save you the trouble of clicking on the link):Notwithstanding other provisions of this article or the provisions of any local ordinance, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person.That's EVERY driver, and ANY pedestrian, NOTWITHSTANDING other provisions. Violation of that statutory duty is negligence per se, so I know which party in the lawsuit I'd rather be.More interesting though, is the apparent compulsion to pick a side in this issue generally. Drivers should be more careful not to hit pedestrians, and pedestrians should be more careful not to put themselves in harm's way. Should anyone rethink that position?"Duh," I believe, is the preferred term.

Baille 10 years ago

Hey, KSA 21-3503, your name is the statute regarding indecent liberties with a child. That's odd.Research is right on, though; however, the Lawrence police don't enforce those laws or the ones about bicycles. Is it because they don 't know the law? Or are these laws just not worth enforcing?

Baille 10 years ago

Must I? It's just an observation not an indictment. Why don't the police enforce pedestrian and bike laws? Ignorance of the law or unacknowledged acquiescence? Seems like a reasonable question(s) to me.By the way, the bike laws aren't intuitive, but there are a couple of good cases that flesh out the rules. Still some grey areas, though.

Baille 10 years ago

Well, that may be a bit over the top. I think Mr. Ripper was simply pointing out that the two options I supplied, ignorance and acquiescence, are insufficient. His theory on why laws regulating pedestrians and bicyclists are not enforced as vigorously as motor vehicle laws (an unproven hypothesis, by the way, based solely on anecdote and limited observation) rests on the premise that the police must prioritize the use of their limited resources and spend their time enforcing the laws that pose a greater danger to society.In other words, why prevent a possible suicide when there is an infraction that poses a danger to others happening just ahead?

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years ago

lets face it jack there are plenty of people out there that do not use their brains when they try to cross the street. The driver of a car only has so much control of a situation, if you see the pedestrian up ahead yes you slow down so that you can brake if need be but if you are driving and this is mostly on side streets, and there are cars parked on the side the next thing you know a person is jumping out in front of you just as you are to them you can not stop in time even if you are doing only 5mph. And most of the time it is adults acting like idiots when walking and crossing streets. I can not tell you how many times me and my little onw will be standing and waiting for the light to change so we can cross the street and an adult comes up and just walks across without even looking, against the light.I am not living in a bubble I know ther are plenty of bad drivers out there that just do not pay attention but you also have to place blame on stupid pedestians that just assume a car can stop on a dime when you step out in front of them against the light, there are rules that apply to these people as well as the drivers of cars. Not to mention it does not take a degree in rocket sience to realize a car going even twenty cannot stop just like that. Oh yeah and jack I used to walk all over this town one end to the other and back never got hit but then I used my brain and not my desire to get somewhere 2 min. faster.

Richard Heckler 10 years ago

An idea. Considering the population has grown significantly since the speed limits were set in those areas mentioned perhaps it is time to reduce the speed limits. This would require citizen initiation. Pedestrian bridges would be an idea in these situations. the LPD could ticket "reckless" cell phone drivers for irresponsible driving as we speak. Any other ordinance would require citizen initiation.

Baille 10 years ago

Now is that irony? When Jack the Ripper makes an impassioned plea for more civility?

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years ago

now that is true jack some people just do not understand the whole cross walk if for people and the only reason a car should be in one is when there is no one trying to cross and you need to pull up to turn safe. And yes people should drive the speed limit and no lots of people do not use brains or consideration but there are plenty of times when the driver just can not stop, driving the speed limit or slower. That is why some things are no ones fault accidents. Yes for the most part it is the drivers fault but not always and then you have the times when no one is really at fault and it is a freak accident.I will agree that people jogging in the street right next to the sidewalk is very annoying bikes use road people walking/jogging use the sidewalk please.

mom_of_three 10 years ago

During busy times on Mass, we do use the crosswalks in the middle of street, and I have seen cars that don't stop when people are waiting to cross. I always try to. But campus is a little different, with crosswalks everywhere. Yes, cars have to yield, but they need time to yield. I have been half way through a turn, and a student comes walking down the street, and suddenly, steps out in front of me. How stupid is that? When I am a pedestrian, I try to let the car finish their turn.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years ago

now come on you can not blame the driver for everything. The avrege human being with a brain should know about crossing a street and know that you should do it at a stop light or cross walk but when a driver is going along and someone jumps out from behind a van or suv the car just has no way of stopping in time people need to realize that sometimes the person is at fault just as much as the driver.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years ago

And yes there are bad driver ther are bad pedestrians bad bike riders bade motercycle drivers there is bad in all groups it just seems like people forget it is not always the drivers fault.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years ago

don't do brick road don't drive on them do not walk on them just to yucky for me. Now see jack you seem to lump all drivers in one cat. bad but that is like saying all people walking are dumb just not true. I will say when driving on roads that have no drive ways so they have to park on the street doors opening is what I worry about most.

mom_of_three 10 years ago

Too bad he didn't mention the crosswalks on campus. Yes, cars should stop, but students think cars can stop on a dime, and walk out into traffic without even looking. If a car is already driving through a turn, I don't walk out in front of it, but they do on campus.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years ago

no smiling to day got 7 kids here driving me nuts. Dang grand kids. lol I really do love them but.....

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years ago

no I am not old just a yound grandma thankyou.

mom_of_three 10 years ago

Like I am going to enter a crosswalk on Mass and hope the car stops. BUT...I have stopped to allow people to cross, and cars going the other way do not stop. And if cars aren't required to stop for crosswalks, then what is the point? Just have pedestrians jump in the street?

Jim Phillips 10 years ago

Tell me something Jack, will it hurt less when you get hit knowing you were right?

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