Expressway Crossing Hazards for Pedestrians and Bicyclists

It was very late at night, and you had just finished a 60-hour work week when you decided to take I-66 home instead of taking the long way around by Quinn and Key. You were extremely tired and were relieved when you finally made it to your exit on Lynn. As you slowly decreased your speed while traveling up the ramp, you thought you saw a shadow crossing the road in front of you, but couldn’t quite make it out.

You had the green so you continued forward and as you slowed down to make your turn, you realized that you had just narrowly missed a pedestrian who was crossing against your light. You came to a complete stop before turning, as you felt like your heart was about to jump out of your chest. The pedestrian was screaming something at you as he continued down the sidewalk but you couldn’t quite make out his words. The only thing you could hear was the blood pulsing in your head.

You looked around again and although you still had the green, you noticed that there was an actual crosswalk bisecting the ramp and road. You took another look to make sure no one else was around and continued down Lynn, wondering the entire time why you’d never seen that crosswalk before.

How you were supposed to see that pedestrian?

Are expressway crosswalks even safe?

The Risks of Crossing an Expressway On/Off Ramp

In an attempt to make crossing expressways safer, crosswalks have begun to spring up for pedestrian and biker use at on-ramp entrances and off-ramp exits. Although this makes it convenient for pedestrians and bikers to cross, it also poses several dangerous problems for motorists, pedestrians, and bikers alike. These dangers include:

  • Decreased motorist visibility at off-ramps. When a driver is getting off the expressway, his attention is focused on the traffic beside him in order to merge into it, not necessarily on the road in front of him. If the object in front of him is smaller than a vehicle, he may not even notice its movement, which increases the chance of a fatal collision.
  • Increased motorist confusion and panic. Each crossing has a stop sign posted for bikers and pedestrians, and they’re not supposed to cross until the ramp is clear. Even so, if a motorist is coming around a curve and sees a person or a biker approaching the ramp, instinct may kick in. The motorist may swerve, stop, or overreact in another way in order to avoid the possibility of hitting the pedestrian. The result? Too often, this moment of panic may cause another collision altogether.
  • Increased speed for on-ramps. Generally, when a motorist approaches an on-ramp, he will begin to increase his speed immediately, making it difficult to adjust or slow down if a biker or pedestrian begins to cross.
  • Decreased visibility for bikers and pedestrians. Traffic coming from on- and off-ramps can be extremely hard to see and gauge, especially if the ramp includes a curve. Pedestrians and bikers may misjudge traffic speed or believe the ramp is clear when, in fact, it isn’t, prepping the scene for a horrible and bloody collision.

As a motorist, biker, or pedestrian, you must always be alert and aware of your surroundings when entering, exiting, or crossing an expressway ramp. When high speeds are involved, you can’t take chances with your life or another’s life. Be careful and always make sure the coast is clear before proceeding forward.

Have you recently been injured in a bike, car, or pedestrian accident? Let our experience and knowledge work for you. Contact us today at 202-296-0666 to ensure you get the settlement, compensation and help you deserve.

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