September 17, 2009 in City

Spokane’s traffic unit focusing on crosswalks

The Spokesman-Review
The law
Washington pedestrian traffic laws state that a driver of an approaching vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian or bicycle to cross the roadway within an unmarked or marked crosswalk when the pedestrian or bicycle is upon or within one lane of the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning. For purposes of this law, “half of the roadway” means all traffic lanes carrying traffic in one direction of travel, and includes the entire width of a one-way roadway.

The Spokane Police Department’s traffic unit will be writing tickets today for crosswalk law violations in the Gonzaga University area after the department received numerous complaints regarding pedestrian safety there.

The college district is in the vicinity of Sharp Avenue and Hamilton Street with a 25 mph speed limit posted along Sharp Avenue on the north side of the university’s main campus buildings west of Hamilton.

Police are reminding drivers that not all crosswalks are marked; in fact, most crosswalks in the city are not.

Washington law states motorists must give pedestrians in crosswalks the space of at least one lane beyond the lane in which their vehicle is traveling, and two or more lanes on multi-lane streets such as Hamilton and Division.

On one-way streets, drivers must give pedestrians the entire width of the street, police said.

The problem in Spokane is substantial. In 2008, the city had 127 accidents involving pedestrians with 101 injuries, making it a priority for the traffic unit.

Police said the fatality risk for a pedestrian goes from 25 percent when being struck by a vehicle going 25 mph to 75 percent for a vehicle going 30 mph.

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