Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v04n16)
Village crosswalks: who has the right of way? - By Lindsey Taylor
posted: Aug. 10, 2007
Crosswalks in Broad Ripple have been a concern for pedestrians and motorists at the Carrollton crosswalk and the Monon Trail crosswalk located on Broad Ripple Avenue. Villagers want to know if pedestrians still have the-right-of way, no matter what crosswalk they are attempting to use.
Who has the right of way? (And, let's be honest...Who would win in a fight...)
According to Indiana's Bureau of Motor Vehicles driver's manual, a motorist should always yield to the right-of-way to pedestrians at a crosswalk or the existence of a pedestrian signal that indicates when pedestrians are nearby.
The Monon Trail crosswalk does not have a pedestrian signal to help motorists know when to yield. While pedestrians know when to cross, there is a stop sign available indicating that the pedestrian stop and the motorists have a flashing yellow signal which indicates a slow down. So do the BMV's driver's manual rules still apply at this crosswalk?
Karina Straub, Indy Parks Greenways Manager, said, "Pedestrians do have a certain amount of right-of-way. Those trail user stop/yield signs are there for the user's protection, regardless of whether or not they have the right-of-way."
The motorists that drive through the crosswalk at Carrollton often pass right by pedestrians waiting to cross. Amanda Nickolaus, a regular visitor of the Village, said, "A person just needs to use common sense whether they are in a car or crossing the crosswalk."
Regardless of the old "pedestrians have the right of way" thinking, please stop!
Since there is such a high traffic count on Broad Ripple Avenue, it is sometimes confusing to trail users, but Straub said, "We never anticipated the volume or growth of the Greenways system. Therefore, we are adjusting our design criteria and managements accordingly."
Does this upcoming improvement mean that there will be new lights added at this crosswalk to help motorists give the pedestrian their right-of-way?
"That crosswalk is a unique intersection and a stoplight could not be added due to the proximity of the crosswalk to the stoplight on Guilford and Broad Ripple Avenue," said Straub.
Even though this crosswalk may seem a little dangerous, Mica Perry, Communications Director of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute said, "There have been no collisions involving pedestrians at either of those crosswalks [in Broad Ripple]."
The Indiana Code states that a pedestrian shall obey the instructions of an official traffic control device specifically applicable to the pedestrian unless otherwise directed by a police officer.
Straub said, "The Indianapolis code authorizes crosswalks, but does not have any language about vehicles yielding to pedestrians, so there does not seem to be any specific laws written that enable enforcement by police or what the specific penalty for failure to abide by the law is.
"What is one of the first rules you were taught when you were a kid? Stop and look both ways before you cross the street," says Straub.