Sunday, 23 August 2009

Crosswalk Accident on Henderson

I came across a terrible accident on my way home today. An elderly woman was hit by a car in the pedestrian corridor at Henderson and Edison. On one of the few truly beautiful days of summer a woman, a driver, their families, and the many witnesses now wish they could forget it.

The building I work in overlooks a pedestrian corridor and I have to say that I am surprised that more people are not injured in this way. Daily I hear the sounds of screeching brakes. Sometimes this takes place when the lights are going PLUS the presence of an adult school crossing guard in the intersection. I have witnessed some terribly close calls.

Perhaps it's not surprising. We're in a hurry. We want our 'right' to text, make phone calls and all of the other comforts of home while behind the wheel.

I'm one of those 'morons' who actually STOPS at regular, old crosswalks such as the one above near my house. From the horn-honking, yelling, bird-flipping and people pulling out from behind me to pass while I am stopped, I would make an unscientific estimate that maybe 40% of people know what these things are. Through conversations with people, be it in a friendly setting or the more heated kind on the road, it's apparent that people are mistaken as to what a crosswalk is.

So, here is a refresher for those drivers who figure they know it all and that I am the screw-up.

CROSSWALKS are those painted lines on the road with the oddly postured, black stick-man (dimensionally-challenged person) signs on either side:

Stopping is not optional at a crosswalk. Go back to the Drivers Ed handbook and it states:

What many think are crosswalks are actually called PEDESTRIAN CORRIDORS.

The Manitoba Highway Safety Act defines a CORRIDOR as: a crosswalk, at an intersection or elsewhere, that has been designated as a pedestrian corridor by the proper traffic authority and that is illuminated and distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by (a) such lights and other traffic control devices on the highway, and (b) such lines or other markings on the surface of the roadway.

In Winnipeg: These corridors are equipped with flashing beacons and internally illuminated signs, installed over the roadway. This is what they look like, or see above:
At pedestrian corridors, at least, a vast majority of motorists seem to know that they must stop. Still, back to the Drivers Ed handbook:

In summary:
This is a Crosswalk:
This is a Pedestrian Corridor:
Stop at BOTH if people want to cross.
Plus, don't honk your horn or flip the bird at a vehicle that has stopped.
Also, don't hit the people crossing.

End of lesson. Now, put down your Blackberry and get your eyes back on the road.

Related / Sources:
The Highway Traffic Act - Province of Manitoba
Manitoba Driver Handbook - MPIC
Pedestrian Corridors - City of Winnipeg
Winnipeg Traffic Signs - City of Winnipeg


CreativeNige said...

Thank you for posting on this. I live downtown with my girlfriend; we have a car, but walk most places we need to go.

It's amazing to see how many drivers blow right through crosswalks at full speed, without a second thought, when we're waiting to cross a street.

At any crosswalk you can stick out your arm, kick your leg out, set off road flares, wave a flag, motion all you want, most drivers won't notice a thing.

mrchristian said...

Too true. The one that is / was just after the Donald street bridge near Broadway is a waste of good metal !