Hybrid crosswalks can reduce pedestrian accidents by as much as 70 percent without the need for a traffic light that controls walk and drive signals.
What is a Hybrid Pedestrian Crosswalk?
A hybrid crosswalk is a pedestrian-activated crosswalk system that eliminates the need for a traffic light. When the pedestrian is ready to cross the street, he or she pushes a button to activate the traffic warning signals. Once activated, a yellow flashing light alerts drivers to slow down and use caution. After a few moments of flashing, the light turns to solid yellow and then turns to solid red. This tells drivers that it’s time to stop and let pedestrians cross. As the pedestrian crosses the street, a flashing orange hand tells pedestrians that their crossing light is about to turn off, allowing cars to pass again.
With hybrid crosswalks, advance stop lines and yield markings are placed 20 to 50 feet in advance of a marked crosswalk so drivers stop further away from pedestrians. When stop lines are placed further away from the crosswalk, visibility is improved for both pedestrians and drivers who often have blocked views from other cars, nearby objects, or trees and shrubs. Drivers have more time to decrease their speed and come to a complete stop. Pedestrians have more time to take evasive actions if they see that a vehicle is not slowing down or stopping.
Benefits of Hybrid Crosswalks
In many states where hybrid crosswalks are installed, pedestrian accidents have dropped by as much as 70 percent. Hybrid crosswalks are saving lives, as well as saving money for cities and communities With hybrid crosswalks, pedestrians have plenty of time to safely cross the street without the need for an installed traffic signal. Hybrid crosswalks provide more pedestrian safety because they alert drivers sooner than traffic signals that a pedestrian has stepped into the crosswalk.
Hybrid crosswalks provide increased pedestrian safety which is especially important in certain areas such as:
- Areas where speed limits are 40 miles per hour or greater
- Heavily congested city streets
- High traffic areas with limited visibility near crosswalks
- Areas near schools
- Areas near city municipalities
- Urban or rural streets with few traffic signals
Preventing Nevada Accidents
State laws require motorists to stop at marked crosswalks when a pedestrian is present, but many drivers do not stop or even slow down. In some cases, drivers may not realize that the law requires them to stop. In other cases, drivers may be speeding, distracted, or impaired, so they ignore the laws or don’t even see pedestrians in the crosswalk. A Nevada auto accident attorney often sees injured pedestrians hit by impaired drivers.
Nevada ranks among the worst states in the nation for pedestrian fatality rates. Las Vegas has a high rate of pedestrian injuries caused by motor vehicles. Like most southwestern cities, Las Vegas is a community that was built with rights-of-way for six-lane to eight-lane roads that have speed limits of 45 miles per hour.
With thousands of pedestrians on the streets every day, Las Vegas has taken preventive actions to decrease pedestrian accidents and injuries. Las Vegas officials worked with the Federal Highway Administration Pedestrian Safety Program to identify and evaluate pedestrian safety measures. City officials identified 18 areas within the city with high rates of pedestrian/vehicle crashes. After data was collected, 14 locations received safety measures that included:
- High-visibility crosswalks
- Median islands and refuges
- Lighted pedestrian call buttons
- Automated pedestrian detection systems
- Warning signs and advance yield markings
- Speed trailers or speed bumps
After safety measures were implemented, all 14 locations showed a reduction in pedestrian accidents and injuries caused by motor vehicles.
Pedestrian Crosswalk Injuries
Every year in the United States, approximately 130,000 pedestrians seek medical treatment in hospital emergency departments after getting struck by moving vehicles. That averages out to one pedestrian injury every four minutes. Most pedestrian/vehicle accidents occur in urban areas on busy, congested streets. Many of these accidents handled by auto accident attorneys often result in serious injuries and fatalities.
Nearly 50 percent of all fatal pedestrian accidents involve an alcohol-impaired individual, either the pedestrian or the driver. Approximately 75 percent of fatalities happen in areas with poor lighting after dark or crosswalks without any traffic signals. Three times as many pedestrians are hit by cars turning left than turning right because the driver is watching oncoming traffic rather than watching out for pedestrians in the crosswalk.
When a pedestrian in a crosswalk is hit by a moving vehicle, common injuries seen by an auto accident attorney include bruises and abrasions; facial lacerations; torn or sprained ligaments; fractures and broken bones; spinal cord injuries; and traumatic brain injuries. Most injuries and fatalities occur upon initial impact, but secondary injuries often occur when a pedestrian is thrown into other objects or oncoming traffic.