Pedestrian & Vehicle Safety

By Officer Daniel Hedges
Pedestrians & Vehicles at Intersections
Any intersection can be dangerous. Madison, being more rural than some towns, has fewer major intersections with crossing lights. Probably the most dangerous intersections in town for pedestrians are where Route 1 (The Boston Post Road) intersects with Wall Street, Route 79 and Island Avenue All three of these intersections have marked crosswalks which are push button controlled and pedestrian crossing signal lights that were installed by the State of Connecticut.
Car Stopped at a Crosswalk
The signals have instructions written next to the push button on the pole. The signals indicate the following:
  • A white colored symbol of a person walking indicates you can cross. But look both ways before you start to cross!
  • A flashing red colored hand symbol means if you have not started to cross yet, then do not start to cross at this time. It also means if you are already crossing, then continue toward the opposite side of the street.
  • A steady (non-flashing) red colored hand symbol means do not cross the street. Push the button and wait for the walk symbol.
  • Generally speaking, the total time cycle from the white "Walk" signal through the solid red "Don't Cross" signal is 14 seconds.
Basic Pedestrian & Traffic Laws
Numerous pedestrians in this country are injured or killed every year while crossing intersections. As a pedestrian you can improve your odds by taking precautions in two areas: seeing and being seen! Be sure that you can see turning or approaching vehicles. Be sure drivers can see you when you wish to cross the street. If the control signal indicates that it is time for you to cross, do not start blindly crossing the street! Look before you start!
Pedestrian Crossing Sign
There are many laws and regulations regarding pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic at an intersection. Most of these laws are simple and require only common sense. Failure to comply with these laws can result in an accident and/or fines. Some of the basics are as follows:
  • Pedestrians within the vicinity of a designated crosswalk (lines are painted on the roads surface) are to use the crosswalk. If the intersection has pedestrian crossing signals (usually push button type) they are to be used also. A pedestrian who has been given a "walk" signal and is lawfully in the crosswalks shall have the right-of-way over all vehicles, including those making turns, until such pedestrian has reached the opposite curb or safety zone.
  • Vehicles that wish to make a right turn while facing a red light signal can only do so after coming to a complete stop (not rolling) and yielding to any other lawful pedestrian and/or vehicle traffic. A right turn on red can not be made if there is a posted sign present that indicates that this is not allowed at that location.
  • A vehicle facing a green arrow signal, shown alone or in combination with any other indication, may cautiously enter the intersection only to make the movement indicated by such arrow, or such other movements as permitted by other indications shown at the same time, but such vehicular traffic shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully in the crosswalk and to other traffic lawfully in the intersection.
  • No pedestrian shall cross an intersection diagonally unless authorized by a pedestrian control signal or a police officer. It is a violation of law for any pedestrian or vehicle to not comply with the instructions or signals of a police officer.
  • Last but not least, if a motor vehicle operator observes a pedestrian or human powered vehicle using or entering a highway in an unlawful manner, the operator of the motor vehicle (whether the motor vehicle has the right-of-way or not) is required by law to "exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or person propelling a human powered vehicle and shall give a reasonable warning by sounding a horn or other lawful noise emitting devise to avoid collision."
The above stated rules and regulations have been somewhat paraphrased and are just a few of the laws regarding this subject. These laws and others can be found under Title 14 of the Connecticut General Statutes. Your police department is committed to making sure that our vehicle operators and pedestrians are able to use the highways safely. Your cooperation is essential. Please remember that most accidents can be avoided by just slowing down a little.

Be especially cautious in the center of town on Route 1 and at the intersection of Wall Street and Route 1. Until next time God bless and stay safe!