“Thank the driver as you are crossing the roadway”

Some fancy solar powered crosswalk signs (the “Enhancer”) with lights, flashing beacons, and a pleasant spoken instructions have recently been installed in Lyon Township where the Huron Valley Trail crosses both a newly constructed road as well as Grand River.

They’re expensive, obnoxious, and as far as we can tell, somewhat ineffective.

As for the obnoxiousness, here are the instructions.

“Hello. You’ve activated the crosswalk signal.

“Wait for traffic to stop before you cross.

“To show traffic you want to cross, place one foot near the curb line.

“And remember to thank the driver as you are crossing the roadway.”

Why are pedestrians and cyclists instructed to thank motorists just for following state and low crosswalk laws? Shouldn’t that be a basic expectation?

In this case, their ineffectiveness may stem from their poor location outside of the driver’s view. This is especially the case on Grand River. Once the trees leaf out, it’s uncertain how much of the sign will even be visible. With Grand River being rebuilt, Lyon Township and the Road Commission for Oakland County have an opportunity to make this crossing safe through bump outs, a refuge island, improved street lighting and zebra striping.

It should also be noted that these signs were installed on the wrong side of the trail. They should be on the right not the left. Their location is being changed.

If we’re not mistaken, these were installed in the fall. Already a driver has taken one out. It’s being replaced.

And finally, while testing them on Grand River, a van never slowed when the sign was activated and we were trying to cross. It appeared they were texting.

Maybe we should thank those drivers that aren’t driving while distracted, too.

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8 Responses to ““Thank the driver as you are crossing the roadway””

  1. Streetsblog Capitol Hill » Comfortable Drivers and Talking Crosswalks Says:

    […] on the Streetsblog Network, we've got a post from M-Bike.org weighing in on a new crosswalk treatment in a Michigan […]

  2. Streetsblog New York City » Comfortable Drivers and Talking Crosswalks Says:

    […] on the Streetsblog Network, we've got a post from M-Bike.org, who weighs in on a new crosswalk treatment in a Michigan […]

  3. Streetsblog Los Angeles » Comfortable Drivers and Talking Crosswalks Says:

    […] on the Streetsblog Network, we've got a post from M-Bike.org, who weighs in on a new crosswalk treatment in a Michigan […]

  4. Streetsblog San Francisco » Comfortable Drivers and Talking Crosswalks Says:

    […] on the Streetsblog Network, we've got a post from M-Bike.org, who weighs in on a new crosswalk treatment in a Michigan […]

  5. Joel Batterman Says:

    Is it legal to create a crossing of this kind without any striping or pavement treatment?

    As for the instructions: Not getting run over is a right, not a privilege.

  6. Todd Scott Says:

    I don’t think it’s a legal requirement to stripe a crosswalk. There used to be two while lines across the road to demarcate the cross walk at Grand River. They were removed when they realigned the crossing. Grand River is being rebuilt so perhaps they’re waiting.

  7. Larry S Says:

    This type of crosswalk only perpetuates the dangerous and ignorant good samaritan. You know the driver: they stop when they have the right of way to flag you out into traffic. Meanwhile, there is no guarantee what the driver in the next lane or behind the good samaritan will do. The result: an accident. A safe crosswalk is either a bridge over the road or trail or a full-fledged stoplight.

  8. misterg Says:

    I agree the signs are a waste, however, right after common sense, a big happy smile and a friendly wave are the top three pieces of safety equipment. This may come as a surprise, but Drivers are people too! (the way I hear it, many cycist Also own autos.) People respond favorably to positive reinforcement. Say thanks, and that same driver will be more apt to engage in the same behavor the elicited the positive response. Cop an attitude, and your negitive behavior will come back to you (and other riders.)

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