Drivers: Obey the Law!

Drivers and pedestrians both must follow the rules.

Last week a letter to the editor of The Ridgewood News suggested that it was up to pedestrians to prevent cars from hitting them. 

Here is what he wrote: “Whatever happened to the time-honored concept of looking both ways before crossing and then crossing only when it is safe to do so? This is the way to curb pedestrian accidents. Rather than ‘stop, look and wave,’ we should be teaching our children to ’stop, look and wait.’"

Today, I forwarded that letter to the DMV with a suggestion that his license be suspended or that he at least be required to take a remedial driving course because he does not understand traffic laws.

MOTORISTS in New Jersey MUST stop for pedestrians in a marked crosswalk.   

Waving isn’t required but it does help to let drivers know what you intend to do especially in dealing with distracted drivers who may not even know the law.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

jp1 April 30, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Pedestrians just do not seem to get it just drive through the village and there is j-walking all over the place including mothers and fathers with children and the police always appear to be looking the other way.
Michael May 01, 2012 at 11:07 AM
Many pedestrians think that they are protected by their 'right of way' and will not be any safer when they bolt off the curb and into traffic as they talk, text and chat with friends. A car could be going 15MPH and they would still put themselves in harm's way. On E Ridgewood Ave from Maple to Broad, drivers are also faced with jaywalkers between the crosswalks - sometimes with children in tow. Pedestrian safety is a two-way street, so to be fair, Mr. Johnson, you may want to drop dime on some mindless pedestrians while you're at it.
Turtle May 01, 2012 at 01:37 PM
I stopped for a pedestrian at the crosswalk and was rear ended by a car. The officer should have issued a citation to the driver behind me. But none was issued.
jp1 May 01, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Turtle what do you expect from our lazy police force? The CBD is becoming a dangerous place to drive and pedestrians seem to think they are at the mall.
Harlan Consider May 01, 2012 at 03:18 PM
So nothing will change. Based upon the responses here, as well as many previous similar articles, let's re-cap: 1. Despite what the law states, many drivers either aren't aware of it, or simply choose to ignore it. 2. Many drivers appear to have this opinion that pedestrians march or bolt out into the street, despite there being little to no evidence of this from accident reports. 3. Hand-held cell phone use is rampant by drivers. Don't believe me? Stand and watch a line of cars go by and see how many drivers are yacking away. Sorry ladies, but you outnumber the male yackers by about 10 to 1. 4. The Village appears to be doing nothing to prevent these accidents, other than suggesting that I do jumping jacks at the crosswalk when I want to cross.
jp1 May 01, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Curious why there never seems to be a response from anyone in the village or is it beneath them to go on the patch which i believe many of them read.
sandy May 01, 2012 at 06:37 PM
I have seen many people just walk into the street w/o looking. They just assume if a car is there it must stop. I have also nearly been rear-ended several times when I have stopped for a pedestrian. Even worse, cars often attempt to go around me on either side, severely endangering the pedestrian who is walking in front of a stopped car. So it goes both ways. Cars and pedestrians must both be aware!
Fred Grygiel May 02, 2012 at 11:29 AM
Great points Harlan. Let me add that the number of pedestrian cell talkers/texters is just unbelievable. So now we have distracted drivers and distracted pedestrians. Especially problematic is the number of tweens/teens using cell phones while they bike! Where are the parents? school system? the manufacturers? police? We seem powerless to enforce common sense! And we call it "Social Networking?"
jp1 May 02, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Today may4 at 12:10pm in the CBD the area seems to be very busy but speeding on Ridgewood ave. is really out of hand almost saw two accidents by the Ridgewood coffee company. Is there any kind of police enforcement in town or is that no longer part of the job?
Fred Grygiel May 02, 2012 at 05:19 PM
jp1: two comments-(1) the cbd merchants have to get involved to save their livelihoods. They may be inclined to put pressure on the Mayor/PD to address the safety issues in the cbd; (2) maybe some of the meter enforcement personnel can be authorized to do some traffic control/enforcement work? Good luck getting some positive feedback from the Mayor/Council.
Fred Grygiel May 02, 2012 at 06:36 PM
For those interested in improving the overall sense of community on your streets see http://www.keepkidsalivedrive25.org/index.html
Elizabeth Cox May 02, 2012 at 11:58 PM
IT IS THE LAW THAT NO MATTER WHAT YOU HAVE TO STOP FOR A PEDESTRIAN IN A CROSSWALK!!!!! IT'S A LAW! IT DOESN'T MATTER IF YOU HAVE SHORT OR NO NOTICE AT ALL- IT'S A LAW! it doesn't matter if the are jumping crawling or doing handstands - if they are in the crosswalk you must stop!
Fred Grygiel May 03, 2012 at 12:58 AM
EB your outrage is totally justified. Pedestrian v. Auto is there any question who has the right of way? Who should be given absolute priority? Who should stop without complaint or excuses? Of course pedestrians must be protected. Just slow down and drive 25 when pedestrians are present when drivers need to react to the unexpected. The burden is on the drivers to comply with both the law and common sense. No excuses!
Dan Johnson May 03, 2012 at 01:36 AM
When is this the last time you saw a cop in the CBD (except one driving thru)? When is the last time you saw a cop issuing a ticket in the CBD? We don't have that much crime in Ridgewood. So where are the police? Our #1 crime is traffic. Where are the police? Where are they? What are they doing?
Elizabeth Cox May 03, 2012 at 12:30 PM
i think your anger towads the lack of police in your town has nothing to do with this article- Adan- i used caps not to show anger but to state the law- thank you for understanding my point~ @everyone else- i am a driver and a lot of times a pedestrian/runner. but the law is the law- stop whining about how people walk into the street, texting etc. and get over it! you are operating heavy machinery that could KILL someone!
jp1 May 03, 2012 at 02:53 PM
EB do you think the pedestrian should at least look before srepping out or just assume a motor vehicle can stop in an instant?
Harlan Consider May 03, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Despite what some claim, I don't accept that pedestrians march out without looking. What I believe happens in those situations is the pedestrian sees a car approaching and calculates that there is sufficient distance to commence crossing. It's the pedestrian's belief that the driver will see them and come to a comfortable stop. The reality is that the driver has not been paying attention, and the result is a last-second screech. The driver believes that he/she had no time to react and the pedestrian walked in front of them. We can keep going in this endless loop about stop-look-listen, waving your arms, making eye contact, but the practical application isn't easy. Traffic goes two ways. One lane might stop with the driver motioning for you to cross, but the opposing lane is still running through. The driver that has stopped gets irritated because you aren't crossing, and in his irritation, looks at you like you're crazy, and drives on. As for making eye contact with the driver, this is not really that effective with sunglasses, glare, and misunderstandings. Other than the early hours, traffic is an almost two-way constant, so stop-look-listen is redundant. There are only two solutions: Partial Solution = Enforcement of the law Close to Full Solution = Traffic Light controlled crosswalks
Fred Grygiel May 03, 2012 at 03:52 PM
The burden of ensuring a safe stop is clearly and unambiguously on the driver of the car both in law and in common sense. And driving at 35+mph on a residential street or 25+ mph in the CBD reduces the driver's ability to meet that burden. Maybe all drivers should be required to take an oath to accept this burden every time they renew their driver's license? Just a thought...Hopefully this discussion will move all of us to Just Slow Down when pedestrians are present.
Hilary Jones May 03, 2012 at 04:27 PM
It really is a two-way street, no pun intended. Both driver and pedestrian must proceed cautiously, especially when in the CBD. I was nearly hit an hour ago, when, having checked in every direction I proceeded into the crosswalk by the Stop and Shop, walking. I literally had to jump out of the way screaming when a man on Walnut never noticed me in the middle of the intersection--it appeared that he was actually trying to hit me! He was obviously distracted, likely on a cell phone or only looking to the right! OMG people, slow down and for goodness sake, keep alert for each other, whether pedestrian or other driver!
Harlan Consider May 03, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Unfortunately, Hilary, as sensible as that sounds, it is not the solution. That's no different from saying we can solve the crime problems in the world if everyone would just be honest and stop stealing.
Vern May 05, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Although I enjoy shopping in Ridgewood, I cringe everytime I see drivers racing through the cross walks. Why not make the center of town a single direction street? It's entirely too dangerous to walk the streets in Ridgewood's town...the police need to do something other than issue parking tickets to residents.


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