Proposed Ordinance Hopes To Make Pedestrians Safer
(Memphis) City ordinances don’t require drivers to stop when they see pedestrians in a marked crosswalk. The drivers are only mandated to slow down.
Councilmember Lee Harris’ newest proposal requires drivers to come to a complete stop if they see a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk. Right now, Harris says only a handful of drivers actually stop.
With a stick in his mouth, 1-year-old lab Ziggy enjoyed his Sunday afternoon walk near the U of M Campus. But his owner, Ben Rainwater says the walks aren’t the safest.
He tells News Channel 3 what happens when they try to cross the street at marked cross walks. “Cars keep going. You just have to inch out and see if there is an opportunity to go, because they will not stop whatsoever. It’s a walk at your own risk type of deal,” expressed Rainwater.
During the school year, Rainwater says, that risk, skyrockets. ”There’s so many students and so many cars. You’ve got heavy books, it’s even worse because you have to lug around a 30 or 45 lb. backpack.”
“You shouldn’t have to be an athlete to cross from one side of the street to the next.” said Councilmember Lee Harris.
As the ordinance stands now, if someone gets hit while in the crosswalk the driver can only be cited if they didn’t slow down.
“The cars don’t know what to do. Some of them slow down, some of them stop, some of them don’t do either.”
Harris admits drivers going through the marked crosswalks are just a small part of the problem. The city also has an issue with jaywalking.
This ordinance doesn’t cover that, but Harris hopes if walkers feel more protected at crosswalks, they’ll use them.
“I’m hoping we can prioritize pedestrian safety. I know people have places to get to, but not at the expense of public safety.” expressed Harris.
Part of the ordinance also outlines that pedestrians can’t dart out into the marked crosswalk. They have to give drivers time to stop.
Harris will present the proposal Tuesday to the City Council.