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We are on the driver’s side

Editorial cartoon by Jason D. Cox

Editorial cartoon by Jason D. Cox

Parking around campus is an all too familiar gripe among University of La Verne students and staff members, but another thing that drivers have to endure is the fact that students, and other pedestrians, do not know how to use a crosswalk.

Granted, the law says pedestrians have the right of way. However, the right of way law refers to when two people, or cars, come to an intersection at the same time.

Students think they can walk whenever they want, just because they are classified as a pedestrian.

Although pedestrian safety is of paramount magnitude, pedestrians in crosswalks do not have an unlimited right of way, but only a qualified one.

The law states that drivers “must stop for pedestrians who have entered a crosswalk.” This does not mean that walkers can legally just cross whenever they please.

In the section of the law titled “Right of Way at Crosswalks,” it does say that a driver of a vehicle shall yield right of way to a crossing pedestrian.

However, this same section “does not relieve a pedestrian from the duty of using due care for his or her safety.”

Pedestrians cannot suddenly leave a curb or sidewalk and walk directly into the flow of traffic without checking first to see if it is safe.

They teach children in kindergarten to “look both ways before crossing the street,” but nowadays, at least in La Verne, walkers just cross the street without looking first.

Some of our editorial staff have had to wait nearly 10 minutes before driving through an intersection because of the incessant, and sometimes nerver-ending, flow of pedestrians.

Students, and other pedestrians, need to realize that cars have a place to go too, sometimes even the same place.

There is a natural flow to traffic and if we do not adhere to it, frustration and accidents can and will occur.

Pedestrian fatalities account for 11 percent of annual motor vehicle fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Association and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Also, pedestrian fatalities account for 19 percent of California traffic fatalities.

On top of pedestrians not properly using the right of way law, some do not use the crosswalks that have been put in place to protect them.

People jaywalk across many of Old Town’s streets when the blocks are not very long.

It would have only taken another minute to use a crosswalk, but instead they just walk whenever they deem it safe. To make matters worse, some have done so in front of a La Verne police officer and nothing is done about it.

One place, however, that there is a need for another crosswalk – or even better, a pedestrian bridge – is across D Street in front of the entrance to Parking Lot D.

This place is popular for students, faculty, and staff to cross, especially if they are going to the Oaks residence hall or the Arts and Communications Building. Putting in a pedestrian bridge over that part of the street would help the traffic flow and prevent pedestrians from darting across the street and potentially getting hit.

Yes it would probably cost money that this school is already putting in to the new residence hall, but when there are nearly 400 new residents crossing D Street without a crosswalk, this could add to the statistic. The crosswalks are not there to show that the city knows how to paint parallel lines in the road.

They are there so pedestrians and drivers can successfully cohabitate the same streets, and to potentially prevent accidents. On the driver’s side or the pedestrian’s, please learn to respect the road.

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