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Driver must halt if pedestrian is in crosswalk


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POSTED: Thursday, September 25, 2008

Question: On the news recently, there was a story about police enforcing the law about drivers stopping for pedestrians. It appeared that the pedestrian was waiting on the sidewalk at a crosswalk that was not at an intersection. A car was pulled over for not stopping. We've only heard about the rule for stopping when a pedestrian is on the driver's half of the road. What about mid-block crosswalks where the pedestrian is waiting at the sidewalk?

Answer: If there is an "overt move" on the part of the pedestrian to cross, then the motorist is required to stop, according to Maj. Frank Fujii, spokesman for the Honolulu Police Department.

That means when the pedestrian "actually takes a step into the street, you're supposed to stop," he said.

If the pedestrian is waiting to cross, then the motorist is not required to stop.

Having said all this, pedestrian safety is a "shared responsibility," Fujii emphasized.

HPD has pedestrian and driver safety tips on its Web site - www.honolulupd.org/traffic/pedestrian_driver.htm.

Among the tips to pedestrians:

» Look left, right, then left again for vehicular traffic before stepping onto the roadway.

» Make eye contact with drivers to ensure that they see you.

» Yield to any approaching vehicles while crossing even if you have the right of way. Oncoming vehicles may reach you faster than you anticipate.

Meanwhile, the city Department of Transportation Services has a pilot project testing the effectiveness of in-street pedestrian crossing signs at East Manoa Road/Huapala Street in Manoa and at Hamakua Drive/Aoloa Street in Kailua.

The pilot studies involve developing guidelines regarding where such signs should be placed, said Transportation Services Director Wayne Yoshioka.

"Factors such as classification of roadway, width of roadway, posted speed limit, traffic volume, pedestrian volume, traffic accident history (and) sight distance are some of the criteria that will be used in developing these guidelines," he said.

So far, Yoshioka said the Department of Transportation Services has received "good feedback" from the public.

If the signs in Manoa and Kailua prove effective during the pilot period, they will be made permanent.

Fujii said the in-street signs require a motorist to stop only if someone is crossing.