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Action Alert: SB73 Help make crossing a street safe

We have all been in this situation, waiting at the corner for a safe gap in traffic in order to cross the street. Many times, you have to place yourself into harm’s way – into the lane – to get vehicles to stop in order for you to make any progress across the street. What if that all could change?

Current Ohio law is not safe for pedestrians crossing the street. Ohio Revised Code states in 4511.46:

“When traffic control signals are not in place, not in operation, or are not clearly assigning the right-of-way, the driver of a vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar shall yield the right of way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.”

This means under current law a pedestrian must be IN the crosswalk, stepping in front of moving traffic, for a vehicle to legally have to yield or stop for a pedestrian to cross the street.

Why does a vulnerable road user have to put themselves in harms way to cross the street?

A new bill, SB73, introduced in March by Ohio Senator Andrew Brenner would change this. The new bill would require the driver of a vehicle to stop and yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian waiting at the curb to enter a crosswalk when there is no traffic control signal, in addition to when the pedestrian is in the crosswalk. Meaning pedestrians would not have to enter the street in front of moving traffic for a vehicle to yield the pedestrians

Source: ODOT Strategic Highway Safety Plan, Active Transportation 2018 Update

right-of-way.

This new bill is important for pedestrian safety, especially as we are seeing pedestrian fatalities increasing. Between 2009-2018 pedestrian fatalities increased 60% in Ohio, and serious injuries increased 15%.

Senate Bill 73, with enforcement, will make it clearer for all road users by:

  1. Telling motorists they need to stop for pedestrians waiting to cross the street.
  2. Allowing pedestrians to establish their right-of-way without entering into harms way.
  3. No longer burdening pedestrians with a risky decision of stepping out into moving traffic

We need your help to get SB73 moving. It is currently in the Ohio Senates Local Government, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee. Please take a moment and let the bill sponsor, Sen. Andrew Brenner, and the committee chair, Sen. Joe Uecker, know that you support SB73.

Their contact info is:

Senator Joe Uecker
uecker@ohiosenate.gov
(614) 466-8082

Senator Andrew Brenner
Brenner@ohiosenate.gov
(614) 466-8086

If you email, please copy Jacob@bikecleveland.org on your messages.