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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.

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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