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New York pedestrian hybrid beacons and crosswalk safety

A pedestrian hybrid beacon device known as the High Intensity Activated CrossWalK may help protect New York pedestrians at crossings. The warning device uses two red lenses and one yellow lens to signal when it is safe for pedestrians to walk across major roadways. The beacon displays alternating red lights to drivers, warning them to stop until pedestrians can finish their crossing cycle.

More than 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur at midblock locations, where vehicle speeds are typically higher. More than 80 percent of pedestrians killed in fatal accidents were struck by vehicles going at least 40 mph. The pedestrian hybrid beacon provides a middleground between a rectangular rapid flash beacon and a pedestrian signal, offering positive stop control in high-traffic areas. The alternating red light also makes it possible to vehicles to move once the pedestrians have been cleared from the travel lane, keeping traffic flow steady.

Pedestrian hybrid beacons reduce pedestrian crashes by up to 69 percent and all roadway crashes by up to 29 percent. The hybrid beacon design is only meant for use with marked crosswalks. They are ideal in areas where traffic gaps do not permit pedestrian crossing adequately. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices issued by the Federal Highway Administration should be used where hybrid beacons are in place. Public education will be a necessary step to implementing this new technology to prevent confusion.

Pedestrians who sustained serious injuries in a vehicle accident taking place at a crosswalk may be eligible to file personal injury lawsuits. From hit and run accidents to cases where the driver did not observe the pedestrian's right to cross, a lawyer may be able to help establish a case for the driver's liability. Injured pedestrians may be eligible for compensation for medical expenses and loss of income.

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