Using a crosswalk has become one of the most dangerous undertakings anyone can attempt these days within the Halifax/Dartmouth Metro area. The fatalities have risen in our city at an alarming rate. One may ask why… I can say with conviction that drivers are NOT paying attention. Metro drivers are some of the most aggressive, inconsiderate and thoughtless drivers I’ve ever had the opportunity to observe, and the kicker is even the cities “finest” are JUST as bad. I’ve been an unfortunate bystander myself of nearly being hit in a crosswalk at the Cove Market in Spryfield by a Halifax police officer and all he did was “wave” by with a shrug and an uncaring look on his face… I also KNOW this officer… which irks the hell out of me as well.
As written in the Nova Scotia drivers hand book… A stop sign and a crosswalk both require a driver to come to a FULL and complete stop before proceeding and only to do so when it’s safe. MANY drivers do not do this, they “coast” over the white stop line, many barrel through the marked sections on pavements thinking they can get where ever it is they are going faster…and then next thing you know your child or even you as a pedestrian are mowed over by someone who was in a rush! Congratulations Mr, Not only did you run someone down you made it to a stop light FIRST! Drivers seriously need to stop talking on cell phones, texting and start paying attention! As a pedestrian we’re told look both ways, cross when it’s safe. I personally WAS crossing when I felt it was safe, a police officer was coming my way, someone who KNOWS to stop at a crosswalk and did he? … NO! Drivers need to learn they are NOT the only ones on the roads! Back in 2001 the government was approached about fixing some of the very deplorable crosswalks which were in dire need of repainting. Many were denied requests due to money being needed or the case was passed around like a football but go no where… when one crosswalk was asked to be painted neon the response was, “The neon paint is too slippery.” EXCUSE ME? If a driver is paying attention and going the speed limit the “slipperiness” of a paint will not matter and if they stop like they are suppose to then there will not be any issues to traction for a car!!! 2001 saw over 190 people hit and either severely injured or killed in crosswalk accidents. (Statically that’s about 49 people for every 100000 people in our fair city. Halifax’s population is just over 390000.)
Back in June of 2006 Global had “crosswalk” public service ads on TV which was the most stupid thing I’ve ever seen created. The ads pointed out that there were TWO team players when it came to crossing the street but the ad was only focused on the pedestrian and how they should look both ways and stay inside the lines. OK … so I do this… so do many others so what about the 13 people in the last 10 years in Spryfield who where hit at the Cove Market crosswalk (Which I might add is right by a playground and on the other side of the street is a corner store so walking traffic is high) I’m sure the adults looked before crossing, I’ve even had the chance to even talk to a few of them and they all stated the same thing. We try to cross when the cars are far off and it’s mostly cleared but some of the drivers like to speed up like it’s a game of chicken or they just aren’t paying attention. Out of the 13 people who have been hit there in this crosswalk, sadly enough there has been one child killed.
I for one believe the city has to stop and take a good hard look at the drivers of our fair city, INCLUDING some of their own police officers. Stop blaming the pedestrians all the time. The drivers of Halifax and Dartmouth think they own the road, I’ve been in cars of people I know and hear them going on how people need to “move faster” in the crosswalks. I always give them the stink eye and remind them that pedestrians have the right of way and to smarten the hell up before they kill someone.
I am a mom and am terrified to think that one of these days I’m going to end up in the hospital either myself or with one of my kids just because some idiot was in a rush, possibly texting or on their cell and decided to “gun it” for a yellow light while we’re in a crosswalk…
I did my own short video (some of its edited and some if it is removed due to youtube limits) but as you can see … even our “By-Law” personnel are breaking the road rules (the driver was female BTW with blonde hair) … more people “coasted” through this stop sign, and only 11 people out of 211 in an hour actually came to a complete and full stop before proceeding. … in the words of my kids…