Safety rep’s statements refuted by U.S. research

Flashing lights shown to make a difference at U.S. crosswalks

Re: Spike in pedestrian-driver collisions prompts warnings (News, Dec. 12)

I question Alan Perry’s statements regarding crosswalks with flashing lights doing “little to decrease pedestrian crashes.” I requested the background research from Mr. Perry and, so far, he has been unable to fulfill my request.

In January 2012, the Federal Highway Administration in the United States released a memorandum, in which they listed nine research-proven countermeasures that have the greatest effect on improving road safety.

Two of these measures were flashing lights at crosswalks and pedestrian crossing islands.

Mr. Perry’s statement suggesting that crosswalks can give pedestrians a false sense of safety is not backed up by solid research.

According to the U.S. study, a high-intensity activated crosswalk has shown to reduce pedestrian-related crashes by up to 69 per cent and roadway crashes by up to 29 per cent.

This kind of crosswalk displays a flashing orange light, followed by a red light indicating that traffic should come to a full halt. Pedestrian islands mid-road resulted in a 46-per-cent drop in pedestrian crashes.

As Victoria roads become more congested, I would rather see an increase in safety infrastructure than a culture of blaming the pedestrian.

We are all pedestrians. Drivers, on the other hand, need to hold a licence.

Drivers are responsible for slowing down and scanning intersections and pedestrian crossings with great attention. Traffic safety campaigns for pedestrians are important, but it is simply a fact of life that pedestrians will make mistakes.

We can avoid some tragic results if drivers watch out and cities put in place research-proven safety measures.

Brenda MacKinley


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