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Safety at pedestrian crossing islands

Michigan pedestrians may be much safer at places on the road where there are pedestrian crossing islands and medians. According to a report from the Federal Highway Administration, motor vehicle crashes may be reduced by almost 40 percent and pedestrian knockdowns by more than 45 percent in these areas. The two are not quite the same thing. A median is simply an area between two opposing lanes, and while it might be a raised area, it may also simply be designated by lines painted on the road. A pedestrian crossing island is a raised area designed for pedestrians.

They have other uses as well. They might reduce speed for motorists while also reducing overall delays. They make pedestrian crossings more visible and give pedestrians somewhere safe to stop in the middle of traffic.

Pedestrian crossing islands are particularly helpful at midblock locations. This is where over 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur because cars are traveling faster. Over 80 percent of pedestrians hit by cars that are going more than 40 mph will be killed, but fewer than 10 percent of pedestrians are killed when hit by cars traveling slower than 20 mph. These raised islands have been particularly effective at places where people are crossing to a specific destination such as a bus stop.

A pedestrian may be seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident even if it is not fatal. If this occurs, the victim may have a long recovery period and may not be able to return to work. If it can be demonstrated that the pedestrian had the right of way, an attorney could suggest seeking compensation from the motorist through a personal injury lawsuit.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, "Medians and Pedestrian Crossing Islands in Urban and Suburban Areas", Oct. 15, 2014

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