Hold Jaywalkers Accountable

Monday, August 18, 2014

I read again this morning of a person being hit by a car while trying to cross a street in traffic.  I have noticed this seems to happen a lot in Chattanooga with many people killed or severely injured and in most cases, does not involve speeding or reckless driving.  

I have had some close calls myself with people crossing streets indiscriminately at any time and place and have had to slam on my brakes or swerve to miss someone.  It happened again just this past week.  When this happens, you almost always get a dirty look from the pedestrian, even though I didn't see them until the last minute.  

I know that in most instances, pedestrians have the right of way when crossing in a protected crossing area or at a crosswalk, but what I have been witnessing is just plain "jaywalking," with no regard for traffic lights, traffic or designated crossing areas. This is obviously not a safe situation for either party and should be enforced better in my opinion. Some cities that I have visited in Europe have crossing lights that make a sound, that changes when it is safe to cross and you would never dream of crossing anywhere but those crosswalk areas. Same thing in larger cities like New York and Chicago. 

I love the fact that our city is "walkable" and I certainly do not want to hit someone that steps out in front of me.  Is it not illegal to jaywalk anymore?  

I would also like to see the crossing lights hold just a bit longer in the downtown area, as the crossing lights often start flashing before I make across the street.

Joh Fricke

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