Wednesday morning about 9 am I happened to be near Highland and 2nd where a snarl of traffic was building up, and the presence of numerous police on motorcycle and in cruisers caught my eye. Wondering if there had been a terrible accident, I walked over to investigate.
What I found was a police operation in progress. About a half dozen LAPD officers waited off Highland on 2nd Street as ‘decoy’ pedestrians were sent across Highland Ave. in the marked crosswalk every five minutes or so. Many cars stopped, but, not surprisingly, a significant number of cars cruised on through the intersection while a pedestrian was mid-street. This sparked the LAPD officers into immediate action pulling over the offending drivers and ticketing them.
Even though witnessing the set-up made it seem a bit unfair, getting pulled over and paying a fine certainly could help save lives. Pedestrians in the street have the right-of-way, either in or out of the crosswalk, and traffic is required to come to a complete stop until the pedestrian is safely back on the curb. I know there have been plenty of times when as a pedestrian I wished there was a cop around the corner to ticket the car that buzzed past, too close.
The recent rash of hit and runs – including the pedestrian death on Olympic last Sunday – act as strong reminders to all of us to eliminate distractions while we drive, and to obey the rules of the road as drivers, bike riders and pedestrians. If we don’t, it appears that the LAPD may remind us in a different way, being pulled over, paying fines, attending traffic school and facing increased insurance premiums. Or worse, be involved in a crosswalk incident that could change one’s life forever.
I’ve had pretty good luck crossing at Highland/4th on my bike, don’t usually cross there unless its totally clear but often times drivers will stop & wave me across.
Yep as drivers we often violate the crosswalk law where we’re -supposed- to stop until the pedestrian is safely back on the curb, from curb to curb.
I think it’s also important that as pedestrians we respect these rules as well — I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to screech to a stop as people attempt to cross busy streets NOT using a crosswalk or taking the time to go the extra block or so for a crossing with a light. I believe the tragedy on Olympic and Norton happened that way —
We were recently in Vancouver, Canada. If you are at a crosswalk waiting to cross, cars stop immediately. We would wave “thanks” and the drivers would look at us like “What did you expect?”. Guess they’ve never been a pedestrian in California.