USA: Buses Letting People Get Off Into Danger

Would YOU, as a driver, unfailingly be expecting people to get off the blue bus in these photos, into the right-hand lane in front of you?

A few days ago, while we were running an advanced driving course in Albany, NY, we saw a bus stop in the second lane from the curb to let people get off, and it was horrifying to watch. Fortunately, no vehicles came.

This is where the CDTA bus stopped — you can clearly see the edge of the open door. The asphalt between it and the curb appears to be a regular lane, for traffic going straight ahead or turning right, and on other occasions we have certainly seen it used in that way. See the continuing sequence of photographs below. (Copyright image, 2019.)
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Wheelchair Users are at Greater Risk on Crosswalks

While it is clear that crosswalks must be suitably designed for disabled users, it is equally essential that drivers are always prepared to make it safe for such individuals to cross. Unfortunately, however, far too many drivers are oblivious to the things that require their attention.

A study in the USA found that the fatality rate for people using wheelchairs when crossing roads is 36% higher than for regular pedestrians.

Photograph of a disabled person in a wheelchair on a city crosswalk.
The criteria and adequacy of crosswalks must naturally meet the safety requirements of all users, not just able-bodied walkers. (Copyright image, 2018.)

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More and Better Crosswalks in the USA Would Save Many Lives

Just a few days ago, on June 11, 2018, NYSDOT Acting Commissioner Paul Karas announced a $62 million investment in the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, here in our own home state of New York .   This multi-agency initiative will include the Department of Health, DMV, Capital District Transportation Authority and local enforcement agencies.  This is, of course, to be warmly welcomed, but let’s get straight to the point, the USA has a stunningly bad track record for pedestrian injuries and deaths, with almost exactly six thousand being killed nationwide, and a vastly greater number being injured, during the last statistical year alone.

Photograph of a crosswalk location sign in the USA
Crosswalk location sign, USA. (Copyright image, 2012.)

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