On Monday, Street Smarts printed a letter from a reader who wanted advice on the proper way for pedestrians to cross the road. The response came from Debbie Bulger of Mission Pedestrian, who suggested pedestrians always use crosswalks as they establish eye contact, smile and wave to drivers to indicate their wish to cross the road.
Below is another view on the subject from George Klein, a retired California Highway Patrol officer who teaches senior driver safety courses at the Watsonville adult school.
“I’d like to comment on (Monday’s) article on crosswalks. While I agree with Bethany Keintzel on her method of crossing a four lane highway — concentrating on the two lanes approaching her from the left before turning her attention to the two on her right — she, and all your readers, should be reminded of the inherent danger of attempting a crossing at any uncontrolled intersection or crosswalk between intersections. This is especially true on Mission Street – one of our county’s most dangerous highways.
“And with all due respect to Debbie Bulger’s suggestion that before crossing, pedestrians should ‘clearly signal to drivers that they intend to cross the street’ with eye contact or a friendly wave, a driver has no obligation to stop until the pedestrian has actually stepped into the crosswalk.”
Klein sited California Vehicle Code section 21950(a), which states that drivers should ”yield the right of way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.’