Letter: Respect the right of way of pedestrians

Posted 1/10/20

To the editor:

I am a frequent pedestrian in Barrington, and my walk to and from school leads me across the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Middle Highway, the subject of an article in the …

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Letter: Respect the right of way of pedestrians

Posted

To the editor:

I am a frequent pedestrian in Barrington, and my walk to and from school leads me across the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Middle Highway, the subject of an article in the December 4, 2019 edition of the Barrington Times, “School officials call for safety study near middle school.” 

This article covered a proposed study that would focus on pedestrian safety, especially with the high volume of student traffic at the intersection of Lincoln and Middle Highway. For the most part, I was glad to read this article. I hoped that it, and the study it discussed, would remind drivers to be cautious around pedestrians.

However, there is one major part of pedestrian safety that the article seems to have left out, and it is something that I would like to remind Barrington drivers about. The article began with a story about an SUV that, despite have "right of way," was not able to cross the intersection, since a large group of students, who had just been dismissed from the middle school, were crossing the street in front of the car. 

However, this story was wrong; that car did not have right of way. 

According to Rhode Island Law § 31-18-3, as long as there is a pedestrian crossing at a crosswalk on the same half of the road as the car is traveling, that pedestrian has right of way, not the car. Many drivers in Barrington seem to have forgotten about this right of way, which is very dangerous for pedestrians. 

I have been in many circumstances where it seems that drivers care more about getting where they are going than ensuring the safety of pedestrians. Although pedestrians do not gain the right of way until they are in the car’s half of the road, crossing just ahead of or just behind a pedestrian is still dangerous, and yet many cars do it anyway. 

It is my hope that this study will encourage pedestrians to stop these dangerous crossings and respect the right of way of pedestrians.

Trevor Mohlman

Barrington

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