This is written as imaginary correspondence between Patty the Pedestrian and Maddie the Motorist
Dear Maddie the Motorist.
When you see a pedestrian at an intersection, looking to cross, do you stop? Does it have to be a traffic light intersection or a zebra crossing? Will a simple sign do?
Why do I ask all these questions? Well, B.C. has a document entitled “Pedestrian Crossing Control Manual for British Columbia” dated April 1996.
At 159 pages, it is not bedtime reading. It is full of graphs, formulas and text that help determine the appropriate design of each pedestrian crossing.
It considers population, the number of lanes, the amount of traffic and its speed limit.
Does the intersection have frequent traffic turning? It includes many factors.
There is a special section on school crossings.
The introduction tells us that children lack a number of perception and visual skills, so these intersections need to be designed to a higher standard.
We depend on traffic engineers to use this and other information to design good roads and particularly safe pedestrian crossings.
All that said, it is still up to the drivers to pay attention and follow the rules of the road.
Maddy, it has become obvious that some drivers have no idea that I have the right of way at a crosswalk. They need to stop and let me cross safely.
If a few vehicles have passed without stopping, I will sometimes stick my arm out. (Putting my arm out is the way to signal drivers at Ontario crosswalks.)
I am not just waving “Hi!”.
Yet some drivers wave back and drive right through!
So I wait and when it becomes safe, I cross. Better later than to become late.
Signed: Patty the Pedestrian
Dear Patty: Thanks for sharing your experience. I will look out more carefully for crosswalks and pedestrians.
Signed: Maddie the Motorist
Bert Groenenberg has been walking and biking for over 60 years.