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Mike Bryant
Mike Bryant
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Pedestrians Should Be Safer On Minnesota’s Roads

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I’ve written about this before. Look at the sign. If there is a person in or entering the crosswalk, Minnesota law requires you to stop. Not speed by and not create the mayhem , that my partner, Joe Crumley, has written about.

The St Cloud Times, recently looked at the numbers in St Cloud and found that in the last year 17 have been hit:

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says 880 pedestrians were injured statewide in 2009, and 41 died.

St. Cloud data shows that almost all of the 17 pedestrian crashes reported July 2009 to July 2010 occurred in the core city. The highest concentration occurred on University Drive between Fifth and 15th avenues.

Of the 17 crashes leading to 16 injuries, 10 involved people on foot, five on bicycles and one on a skateboard. In one crash, two people in wheelchairs were not injured when a semi abruptly stopped to avoid hitting them. A minivan then struck the semi. Four of the crashes involved children.

The Paper also provided a map:

Statewide, the number has hit 20 as to the number of pedestrians who have been killed in 2010. Nationally, more states are looking at HAWK (High-intensity Activated Cross Walk) systems that they hope to stem these deaths.

The U S Today noted the success of the HAWK systems:

In 2008 in Alexandria, Va., engineers installed a HAWK at a T intersection where a four-lane road separates a residential area from a bus stop. Alexandria has identified a dozen more places that could benefit from HAWK signals, according to the city’s website.

Engineers in St. Cloud, Minn., installed a HAWK last year along Highway 23, a major artery through the city, said Blake Redfield, the city’s traffic systems manager. A public library sits on one side of the highway, while a high school and public park sit on the other.

"There just were no gaps in the traffic for someone to safely make it across the highway," Redfield said.

The HAWK’s yellow and red lights catch drivers’ attention better than a simple crosswalk sign, he said.

"It kind of knocks your socks off from a visibility standpoint," Redfield said.

The technology is available and the law is clear. Hopefully, increased awareness will make a difference.