Mark (mhaithaca) wrote,

Letter to the Editor

Pedestrian Awareness Committee chairman Dave Henderson was quoted in your article ("Pedestrians vs. motorists: Burgeoning woes," 7 Feb 05) as saying "The law says pedestrians have the right of way in every single intersection," and the Journal has done a great disservice by printing it. It's just not so.

While drivers must yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk, pedestrians are prohibited by law from entering that crosswalk if oncoming drivers wouldn't have time to stop safely, or if a traffic signal says it's not their turn to cross. As IPD deputy chief John Curatolo said, pedestrians can be ticketed for jaywalking, or crossing illegally. It's disheartening to hear that IPD bowed to "public outcry against pedestrian traffic enforcement," because so many of the dangerous car vs. pedestrian situations we see are really caused by thoughtless or careless pedestrians.

Pedestrians have to obey all traffic signals, including stop signs, just as drivers do. And, as the death a few years ago of Cornell junior Michelle Evans illustrated so tragically, pedestrians owe it to themselves and their families to use common sense and look around before stepping off the sidewalk, even when they do have the right of way.

If Henderson really believes that pedestrians have such universal rights, he shouldn't be leading an education campaign. He might "educate" more pedestrians into tragic, preventable accidents.

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