Study reveals Chicago drivers don’t stop for pedestrians

Illinois state law requires drivers to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. Unfortunately, many drivers are unaware of the law or choose to ignore it, at least according to a recent study by the safety advocacy group Active Transportation Alliance.

The group studied crosswalks at 52 locations throughout the city and surrounding suburbs. According to its observations, a significant percentage of drivers did not stop for pedestrians, about four in 10, even when crosswalks were painted and had other safety features, such as signs telling motorists to "stop for pedestrians." For crosswalks which were only painted but had no additional safety features, only 18 percent of motorists stopped for pedestrians.

In unpainted crosswalks, only about 5 percent of motorists stopped for pedestrians.

The law requiring motorists to stop for pedestrians at all crosswalks is only four years old. Executive Director of Active Transportation Alliance, Ron Burke, believes the law is not well-known. "The law has not been very well publicized," Burke told the Chicago Tribune.

The Chicago Police Department does enforce the law. However, it focuses its stings where pedestrian accidents have already occurred or where residents have complained of the danger. Certainly monitoring dangerous intersections is beneficial; however, it only takes one driver ignoring a crosswalk to cause devastating injury to a pedestrian, regardless of whether that injury occurred in a "problem" intersection or not.

According to the Chicago Department of Transportation, thousands of pedestrians are injured or killed in Chicago every year in accidents with cars, buses and other motor vehicles.

AARP Illinois also believes there is an issue with pedestrian safety in Chicago. In the heart of the Loop, at City Hall, there are crosswalks on all four sides. They go ignored unless a patrol car is sitting nearby, according to Bob Gallo, state director for AARP Illinois. "If we can't get it right there, I don't know how you can get it right at any particular intersection in the city," he told the Tribune.

Legal options available

Pedestrians who have been injured in Chicago because of an accident with a vehicle or public transportation, there are options available to help with recovery. Due to the often severe nature of pedestrian injuries, many people who become injured must take time off from work and undergo expensive medical care and rehabilitation.

Illinois law allows injured pedestrians the right to compensation for their injuries through a personal injury lawsuit. In addition to getting help with medical care and bills, a personal injury attorney can hold the city and negligent drivers accountable for their actions. Pedestrians who have been injured should contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Healy Scanlon Law Firm to get help with their situation.