First Posted: 3/21/2007
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today reminded municipalities that they can improve pedestrian safety by installing free crosswalk signs. Since 2001, PennDOT has distributed more than 3,400 of the fluorescent yellow-green, free-standing crosswalk signs to municipalities across the state. The signs, which are placed in the center of a roadway directly before the crosswalk, are offered to municipalities upon request. In order to receive the sign at no cost, the municipality must have either an area with a high car/pedestrian crash history, or roadways that are difficult to cross because motorists fail to yield. Pennsylvania law says that when traffic signals are either not present or not operating, motorists must yield to pedestrians within a marked crosswalk, or any unmarked crosswalk, at an intersection. Violators of the law are subject to a $50 fine. A PennDOT study in southeastern Pennsylvania found that crosswalk signs are very effective in helping to increase pedestrian safety. In fact, where the signs are used, motorists are 17 to 34 percent more likely to yield to pedestrians. According to PennDOT, roughly 10 percent of fatalities on Pennsylvania roadways during 2005 involved a pedestrian. Of the 1,616 fatalities reported in 2005, 162 were pedestrians. Municipalities interested in receiving crosswalk signs should contact their local PennDOT district office.