The Public Works Engineering Transportation Planning team has launched a crosswalk education campaign, “Every Corner is a Crosswalk.” The purpose of the campaign is to increase driver knowledge that every corner is a crosswalk, marked or unmarked, and pedestrians have the right of way at intersections. Drivers are required to stop, it’s the law.
The ad campaign includes bus, radio, television and social media. A public service video features a lineup of Eugene celebrities, including the Slug Queen, Sluggo from the Eugene Emeralds and Lily the frog from the Public Works Department. Ad placements are targeted towards adults ages 20-34. Local crash research has shown that it’s an age bracket that sees a higher number of drivers involved in serious or fatal traffic crashes with pedestrians.
In November of 2015, the Eugene City Council adopted a Vision Zero Resolution that sets as official policy the Vision Zero goal that no loss of life or serious injury on Eugene’s transportation system is acceptable. Vision Zero is a data-driven approach to eliminating serious or fatal crashes. With Vision Zero in mind, staff used local data on serious injury and fatal crashes involving pedestrians to target the audience for the campaign.
What constitutes a crosswalk?
Every public intersection is a crosswalk whether or not there is a signal, stop sign or painted lines. You may find crosswalks that have painted stripes, are accompanied by stop signs or traffic signals, or that are unmarked. Additionally, there are mid-block crossings in some locations marked by painted white lines. If you are unsure what constitutes a crosswalk when driving, it’s best to stop to avoid conflict. See ORS 801.220 for details.
What are the laws and my responsibilities?
Both people walking and people driving are expected to be courteous and are required to follow all state and local laws. Oregon law requires people driving cars or riding bikes to stop for people in all crosswalks, whether they are marked or unmarked. See Oregon Revised Statutes ORS 801.220, ORS 811.005-811.065. Understanding and following crosswalk laws can save a life. Failing to obey the law can lead to a lifetime of regret. Oregon’s crosswalk laws are written to provide a buffer of safety for people walking on the roadway.
- If you are walking or biking, you have the right of way in any crosswalk if you give sufficient time for drivers to stop. If you are at a signaled crosswalk, the walk sign must be displayed. Do not start crossing at a signaled crosswalk if the do-not-walk sign is flashing or displayed. Bicyclists on sidewalks must operate their bikes at a speed no greater than an ordinary walk when approaching or entering a crosswalk (ORS 814.410 (1)(d).
- If you are driving or riding a bicycle in a travel lane (i.e., not in a crosswalk), you are required to stop for any foot, wheel, crutch, stroller, or any other extension of a person who is in the crosswalk. If a person is attempting to cross, you should stop. If you are turning at a signal, you must give a buffer of the lane you are turning into, plus six feet of the next lane. If you are turning at any other intersection, you must give a buffer of the lane you are turning into plus the entire next lane. If the roadway is separated or there is a safety island, you do not have to stop if the person is on the other side of the roadway.
- In school crossings, remain stopped until the entire crosswalk is clear.
Why is this important?
The majority of crashes involving people walking are a result of the failure of drivers to yield to the person in a crosswalk. Studies show that a person hit by a vehicle at 40 mph has an 85% chance of dying. In contrast, a person hit by a vehicle at 20 mph has a 95% chance of living. We need to look out for each other and take the time to ensure each other’s safety, whether we walk, bike or drive.
What special traffic safety devices should I be aware of?
In addition to regular signals found at signal-controlled intersections, there are two crosswalk devices increasing in popularity in our city. Pedestrian-activated red light (see video) and yellow “stutter flash” crosswalks (see video) aim to increase visibility and decrease conflict in order to provide a safe trip by foot or bike for people of all ages and abilities. It is important to know how to use these and other traffic safety devices for our own safety and to be a good example to others.