Pedestrians put at risk in city's crosswalks


If you drive a car, chances are you've broken the law when it comes to crosswalks. They can be confusing and the law, it seems, is seldom enforced.

In a city that wants to be more pedestrian-friendly, Eyewitness News learned it's often "crosswalk at your own risk."

"Some stop, some slow. It just depends," said one pedestrian.

"I'm keeping my eyes open. It's crazy out there," said another.

Wednesday, we stationed 15 volunteers at five crosswalks across the city - east, west, north, south and downtown.

"I have a feeling we're going to see cars not yield to pedestrians as they should," said Sara Laycock at 86th and Westfield.

One signal was broken at that intersection and the other white "walk" signals lasted a mere three seconds.

"It's already flashing and neither is anywhere near the halfway point," Laycock said.

At 10th and Euclid, we watched several vehicles turn into the crosswalk, just a few feet in front of those crossing.

"They think if they have the green light, they can go," said volunteer Pete Fritz.

But the law says drivers shall always yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.

"They get impatient. We found cars turning behind us while we were in and even in front of us," Fritz said.

At Hanna and Madison, the problem was not enough time to cross the busy intersection and at Lynhurst and Washington, there were no crossing signals at all, just the traffic lights.

"I would find it very difficult for people with disabilities to get across the street," said volunteer Joan Cook.

But perhaps the most dangerous crosswalk was downtown on New York, just east of Illinois Street. The neon sign and flashing lights say it is a crosswalk, but as Mandl Moyo found, many drivers just don't get it. Once you cross the curb, the cars need to stop. But an IndyGo bus did not, nor did a public works truck. A third car stopped only after Moyo put out his hand. That driver was on the phone.

Eyewitness News photographer Matt Whisner crossed the intersection with his camera rolling. The second time he crossed, a sheriff's deputy zoomed by in a patrol car. Then, as one car stopped, another passes on the left, narrowly missing our photographer.

While many drivers did obey the law, there's clearly room for improvement.

"If you're a driver, behave well and if you're a pedestrian, behave well," said Kim Irwin.

Irwin also thinks better enforcement of the crosswalk laws could put a stop to some of the dangerous activity.