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Citizen voices concern about pedestrian safety

Aug 29, 2012 - By Emily Etheredge, Staff Writer

Riverton police chief Mike Broadhead also addressed various rules for pedestrians.

Riverton resident Ken Miller would like to see an increase in pedestrian awareness throughout the city.

Miller briefly spoke to council members Tuesday about his concerns for those who try to cross the road while dodging drivers who are unaware of the crosswalks.

"There is a problem with the crosswalk between the Wells Fargo bank and Safeway grocery store," Miller said. "It is a terrible place for people who are handicapped to cross. There has been one lady already hit, and I have almost been hit at the crosswalk in the past month."

Miller said the city needs to do something to bring awareness to pedestrians trying to cross the road throughout the city.

"People in the crosswalk have the right of way," Miller said. "I use crosswalks quite a lot, and I wanted to bring it to the city's attention."

Councilwoman Diana Mahoney agreed with Miller and said she sees pedestrians trying to cross at several intersections throughout the city, and she often worries they will be hit.

"The crosswalk by the Dollar Store on North Federal Boulevard always makes me nervous," Mahoney said. "I always stop in my lane, but the other lane will often keep going, making me really frightened for those who are trying to cross the road."

Mayor Ron Warpness said people do need to be aware and acknowledged Miller for drawing attention to the problem.

"It is important for you to speak up and remind us that we do have others we need to look out for," Warpness said.

On Aug. 8, Riverton police chief Mike Broadhead addressed various rules for pedestrians in the city. Broadhead said a state statute regulates crosswalks and pedestrians related to crosswalks.

The Wyoming State Statute 31-5-602 declares drivers will "yield the right of way by slowing down or stopping if need be to yield to any pedestrian within or entering a crosswalk."

In statute 31-5-602 section c, "No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle."

Broadhead said pedestrians do not have the right of way until they enter the crosswalk.

"A pedestrian can only enter a crosswalk if it is safe to enter," Broadhead said. "Once they have safely entered, drivers are not required to stop for them, they simply need to give way to allow the pedestrians to safely cross the street."

Broadhead said he thinks this is a common misconception of pedestrians who wait patiently at the curb and get mad when nobody stops and allows them to walk into the street.

"They immediately declare nobody is yielding to them, but in fact, those drivers are not required to stop and allow them to enter the crosswalk," Broadhead said.

Broadhead said the basic rule of thumb for all roadway maneuvers is to do what is safe.

"The rules at busy intersections are the same as for crosswalks," Broadhead said. "If there is no crosswalk, you should not cross in mid-block but at the nearest corner. If you are at a controlled intersection with a traffic light, you must follow the traffic signals."

Broadhead said wheelchairs are to be treated like pedestrians. Bicycles, tractors and all-terrain vehicles should be treated like regular vehicles.

"Bicycles must move with the flow of traffic," Broadhead said. "Tractors are vehicles and must follow all the rules of the road. If ... tractor drivers are unable to maintain a speed consistent with the roadway, they must drive as far to the right as is safe and practicable."

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