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Can Hybrid Crosswalk System Help?

California roads are known to have a large pedestrian population--especially in the Bay Area. San Francisco's streets are dotted with tourists and locals alike walking to and from work, lunch, or the next iconic location. But just because pedestrians rule the streets doesn't mean the streets have been designed with them in mind. California is aiming to implement hybrid crosswalks to help cut down on the number of fatal accidents that occur at midblock crossings.

How Does the System Work?

Some areas have already begun to use these types of crosswalks, showing a significant reduction in the number of pedestrian accidents. The hybrid pedestrian crosswalk system is activated by a pedestrian when they are ready to cross the street. When they active it, a yellow indicator will begin flashing to warn drivers to slow down and be cautious.

Once the yellow has flashed for a few moments, it will turn to a solid indicator, followed by a red light. This will alert motorists that they now need to stop completely to allow the pedestrian (s) to cross. After a few seconds, a flashing orange hand will indicate to pedestrians that the light is about to turn off and allow cars to pass through again. Motorists will get a flashing red light to alert them that the system is about to turn off, then they will be allowed to pass through again like normal.

What Makes the Hybrid System Beneficial?

According to statistics, the system has the potential to reduce the number of pedestrian accidents by nearly 70%. It provides extra safety by giving pedestrians a clear time to cross a midblock area without an actual traffic light system. While vehicles are supposed to adhere to a marked crosswalk, it can often be difficult to notice pedestrians in high traffic areas. Rather than creating an unnecessary traffic stop, the hybrid system creates a pedestrian traffic stop only when pedestrians are present. This allows traffic to flow as normal when no one is trying to cross.

What areas could benefit from this hybrid system?

  • Crosswalks where the speed limit is 40+ miles per hour
  • High traffic areas that have limited visibility near crosswalks
  • Nearby school and transit locations with heavy pedestrian traffic

Many other locations could also benefit from having added pedestrian safety measures. The important thing to remember is that not all vehicles or pedestrians will understand the hybrid system right away. That is why it is always necessary to exercise caution when using a new traffic set up. Pedestrians must still remain cautious and aware of their surroundings and vehicles should make sure to double check that the crosswalk is clear of all pedestrians.

If an accident does occur at a hybrid system or regular traffic stop, a pedestrian should always seek immediate medical attention and care. Following that, they should ensure they have legal counsel guiding them through the personal injury process.

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