Crosswalk signals are intended to make pedestrians safer when crossing the street, particularly at intersections. But they may not always achieve this goal.
A 2007 study by the AAA Foundation for traffic safety revealed traffic signals were problematic for pedestrians over age 65 because they changed too quickly, failing to allow them additional time to safely get across. There was also evidence that pedestrians don’t always understand the nuances of the traditional pedestrian signal countdown. That too affects their behavior and walking speed, which could in turn increase the risk of a crash.
In the recent case of Castro v. City of Thousand Oaks, the complaint involves an assertion the crosswalk signal was flawed, giving pedestrians the feeling they were safe when in fact they were not. The lawsuit was filed against the city for injuries. After a trial court granted summary judgment to the city, a California appellate court reversed, finding a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the intersection/crosswalk posed a substantial risk of injury to a pedestrian who is exercising due care. Continue reading →