CHICAGO (CBS) — Signs are everywhere on Illinois streets, reminding drivers to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk, even if there’s no stop sign, but does anyone really yield for pedestrians?
More than 6,000 pedestrians are hit by cars every year in Illinois. Out of those, 172 are killed, including 50 children. Most pedestrian fatalities occur in marked crosswalks.
“Compliance is really, really low,” said Active Transportation Alliance spokesman Kyle Whitehead, an expert in crosswalk safety.
“If you’re standing as you’re approaching the crosswalk, signaling that you’re going to be crossing the street, that’s when the driver is required to stop. So you don’t necessarily have to be physically on the street yet,” he said.
That became state law in 2010, spelled out on countless signs you see posted at crosswalks, but very few drivers obey the so-called “Must Stop Law.”
The Active Transportation Alliance conducted trials at dozens of crosswalks across the Chicago area, to see just how many cars would stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Some were well-marked, others were not.
Out of 208 trials, only 40 times did the first approaching car actually stop. That’s only 19% compliance.
In our own informal observation, CBS 2 saw car after car zoom by pedestrians and cyclists at marked crosswalks.
In one instance, 10 cars sped past a father riding a bike with a child trailer. The 11th car finally stopped. Traffic like this forces pedestrians and cyclists to be more aggressive when crossing the street.
“This is our right as people walking, and I think it does make a statement when you do that,” Whitehead said.
Some suburbs like Forest Park have installed solar-powered signs with flashing lights indicating drivers must stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk.
Pedestrians can push a button to trigger the lights and draw attention to themselves.