You're supposed to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk. Really.

Chris Churchill after trying to replicate a crosswalk study on Albany's Delaware Ave: "In time, it became obvious that no car was ever going to stop for either of us, black or white, purple or green. The Portland study, it turns out, relied on basic civic courtesy that doesn't exist on Albany roads. We couldn't test for bias, because Albany drivers are jerks to everybody." [TU]

Comments

Well, this is one of the many reasons why Albany was listed as one of the nations Un-Friendliest places to live. No care, courtesy or respect for others.

I have to disagree - somewhat - I think Albany drivers are probably less likely to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk because they aren't used to seeing pedestrians in a crosswalk. Albany is a jay walking city.

Maybe we need to bring back competitive pedestrianism...

Indeed, I know I'm not the most courteous driver, and I know I'm not a perfect pedestrian, but... If I see a pedestrian trying to cross IN a cross walk, I will stop for them. That's the trick though, trying to find a pedestrian IN the crosswalk.

This social contract is a two way street (sorry, sorry) I'll yield to you in the crosswalk, but you have to be in the crosswalk.

Also pedestrians, please don't start to cross the road when the light in front traffic turns green... Some basic situational awareness would be nice.

I try to stop for pedestrians wanting to cross, but usually only on quiet streets where I'm pretty sure I won't get rammed into from behind. Of course I realize that on quiet streets the pedestrians are less likely to need me to stop.

It seems odd that drivers are so unfriendly to pedestrians here while at the same time they'll sit there and block traffic so someone can turn left in front of them, even when they have the right of way.

@Harold - by that logic, Albany drivers have never seen an emergency vehicle, a speed limit sign, or a red light.

I work on Broadway at an unlighted crosswalk which I cross 2-4 times a day. 95%+ of the cars stop as long as you make it clear you are crossing. If you stop at the curb cars won't stop for you, you have to step out to assert your right. (But be ready to step back.)

The car majority of cars will stop. But I have to say that if you don't make it clear cars won't stop on the chance you are going. Intersections like the St Rose crossing of Western or even worse the Colvin Ave crossing at Westland Hills are even worse because of the lack of pedestrian traffic. If you don't make it clear you are crossing you aren't going to get anywhere. This is unfortunate as the young and the elderly or infirm will have a very hard time crossing.

I have to agree, no courtesy at all. I will tell you this, in Saratoga I try crossing all the time (at a crosswalk) and a majority of the drivers would rather hit a pregnant woman than stop.

Pedestrians have to wait for traffic to enter the crosswalk. This is a strangely done study. If you are just standing on the sidewalk, they don't have to stop. This is different than say the rules in Great Barrington, MA or some other small towns with local laws regarding pedestrians. You are not supposed to enter the crosswalk if the car is too close to stop safely. So You can't wait until the cars are there and then walk in front of them.

The law is simple and clear.

http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/LAWSSEAF.cgi?QUERYTYPE=LAWS+&QUERYDATA=$$VAT1151$$@TXVAT01151+&LIST=LAW+&BROWSER=BROWSER+&TOKEN=40374763+&TARGET=VIEW

Oh! While we're talking about courtesy or lack thereof whilst driving in Albany... DOUBLE PARKING! More specifically, double parking in the lane of traffic (one lane, both directions) while a PERFECTLY GOOD parking spot is just to your right. /endrant. ;)

Noodle on this:

"ยง 1152. Crossing at other than crosswalks. (a) Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway."

What is an "unmarked crosswalk" Vehicle and traffic law doesn't define it.

The courtesy does need to be two way. Don't step into a crosswalk expecting me to stop when a) I am moving at 30mph and am 6 feet from the crosswalk (Newton won't let me stop in time) b) the light is in my favour and the traffic is heavy (see previous posters comment about getting rammed from behind). Having the right of way does not relieve you of the responsibility for causing an accident. And c) without looking at the very least.

I drive in Mass, where pedestrians seem to have the right of way no matter where they cross, expecting traffic to stop as soon as they put a foot in the street, often leading to near gridlock in a busy city.

I also drive in NYC, where pedestrians understand that they are one of the users of the roadway and wait for the light to turn.

Don't forget most drivers are also, at some point in the day, also pedestrians.

And don't get me started on the courtesy of a small number of drivers that ignore emergency vehicles. Or deliberately block us. Dumb. Just dumb.

"I don't have to do the right thing, because other people don't do the right thing." Our society sucks sometimes.

Here's what it should be: Whoever is exerting the most effort has the right of way. That's not you (or me) in your air-conditioned comfortmobile.

As a person who lives off of Hoosick in Troy its like watching real lifeFrogger because generally no one uses the cross walks - so all that money and effort they put into making it more "safe" was worthless to begin with.

Whenever I cross city streets, I walk defensively. That is, I assume the car coming towards me is totally unaware of my existence and it ready to plow me over if I step into the street. Even in a crosswalk.

Let's just face the physics: Cars have the weight and speed advantage over humans. Laws or no laws.

@bob - face it, the laws of physics trump the laws of man every time. And the corollary: You cannot establish mathematical truth by legislative fiat. Aka, you cannot legislate Pi to 3, no matter how hard you want to.

I found the Churchill-Stewart mini-study and Churchill's explanation of the Portland study interesting because to me, the scariest part about being a pedestrian is *not crossing where the cars are going straight (generally, even if I'm at a marked crosswalk with no signal, I will not attempt to cross until I estimate that I have enough time to safely cross without getting hit by the traffic). The scariest part of crossing the streets is actually *turning cars that do not bother to yield to pedestrians in the cross walk. It's the failure to yield on the part of those drivers that I think should be the focus of stepped up enforcement.

@komradebob - funny you compare your experiences driving in Massachusetts vs. NYC. NYC has a high pedestrian crash rate, which has inspired the Vision Zero campaign. On the other hand, Massachusetts, or more specifically Boston, has a much lower rate.

@komradebob - The Mass vehicle code doesn't say anything about courtesy, it just says that vehicles yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, no ifs, ands, or buts. I've looked. Other states have some caveats and quid-pro-quos, but not Massachusetts.

I think it also says that if you try to claim the Newton exemption, that you are "traveling too fast for conditions". I.e., if you can't see the pedestrian until it is too late to stop, that's (legally) your problem. That is, Newton is your problem to manage, and if you don't, then you're not a responsible driver.

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