Crosswalk etiquette

It’s a familiar sight for those who live or work along New Prague’s Main Street or frequent the area. Someone starts crossing the street and finds themselves dodging traffic to safely complete their quest.

Sometimes it’s the pedestrian who steps out onto the street walking against a red light and do not walk sign. They seem to think that because they are in a crosswalk, they are somehow immune to traffic laws or the laws of physics. Traffic laws say if you are at a controlled intersection, you are not allowed to cross the street unless the signal tells you to proceed. It is vehicles who have the right of way. The laws of physics dictate that if a pedestrian is crossing the street and hit by a vehicle, it is the pedestrian who will undoubtedly suffer the most damage.

On the other side of the equation, if the lights say that pedestrians have the right of way, then vehicles need to wait until the pedestrian safely crosses the street before proceeding. And if traffic is at an uncontrolled intersection with a marked crosswalk, traffic should stop and allow a pedestrian in the crosswalk to safely cross.

It is amazing to see how many people are either ignorant of the rules or who are either too preoccupied to pay attention to traffic or in too much of a hurry that they feel they can skirt the right-of-way laws.

Thankfully there have been no incidents this year when pedestrians have been injured, but given the observations on Main Street, and past history, unfortunately, it is a matter of time.

Pedestrians and drivers need to follow crosswalk etiquette. It is not only common courtesy, it is the law.