In Defense of Pedestrians

West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance trustee Michael Ogg and member Catherine Zandonella defended the rights of pedestrians in the West Windsor-Plainsboro News after a letter-writer suggested that pedestrians shouldn’t expect cars to yield, even when they are in a crosswalk, and blamed “defiant” pedestrians for darting into streets.

Both pointed out that the law requires motorists to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and called on police departments to enforce the law.? But they don’t have any illusions about the safety of pedestrians. Catherine walks and bikes her children to school and tells them never to expect cars to stop for them. Michael, a wheelchair user, has experienced numerous times motorists who don’t stop even when he is halfway across an intersection or who dart around those motorists that do stop. Two of his ‘favorite’ intersections are Alexander Road and Scott Avenue by the old Princeton Junction fire station, which he crosses almost daily, and Princeton-Hightstown Road/Route 571 and Sherbrooke Drive, where he also battles the lack of curb ramp on the Acme side, so once? he crosses, he still has to go on the road. His ‘favorite’ excuse from inattentive motorists is “I didn’t see you.”

It’s time for everyone to show courtesy and let everyone use and cross roads safely. We don’t need an incident even more severe than the one at the intersection of Princeton-Hightstown Road/Route 571 and Wallace Road in November. Pedestrians are out there and, as Catherine noted, are not going to go away.

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