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DC accident attorney looks into “pedestrian scramble” proposals

Figuring out how to help pedestrians and vehicles share the road is a difficult problem. DC, for example, has committed to Vision Zero – an initiative pushing to eliminate traffic fatalities in the city by 2024. Part of the Vision Zero plan involves making the streets safer for pedestrians, who are especially vulnerable to death and serious injury following a collision with a vehicle. Too frequently, there are news reports and posts on social media platforms such as Facebook about DC pedestrians getting struck and sometimes killed.

Are “pedestrian scrambles” a good solution?

To improve pedestrian safety, one idea DC is experimenting with is the increased use of pedestrian scrambles. Any intersection with a pedestrian scramble would have regular intervals where all vehicle traffic would stop, and pedestrians would be allowed to cross the intersection diagonally in all directions.

These kinds of intersections may be safer for pedestrians, because during the intervals when pedestrians are permitted to cross, vehicles can’t make a turn through their crosswalk.

There are, however, a few points to consider. Pedestrian scrambles may work well only in certain kinds of intersections. The intersections will ideally have a large amount of pedestrian traffic, and the distance between streets should be short enough to facilitate a quicker crossing; larger intersections with many traffic lanes probably won’t work so well.

Understanding how to use pedestrian scrambles is also important. Although pedestrian scrambles may help bring down fatalities in certain intersections, both pedestrians and drivers need to understand the rules, and the traffic signals and signs must be clear enough to follow.

Finally, it’s crucial to remember that an improved intersection isn’t a substitute for safer behaviors. For example, if pedestrians and drivers are texting while using the road, they increase their chances of suffering a traffic accident regardless of road design.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’ve been involved in an accident. We can be reached at 844-Take-MyCase or through our website, www.844TakeMyCase.com. We also invite you to follow us on Facebook, as our Facebook page is an informative resource on legal and safety issues.

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