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Drivers ignoring flashing red light

WPVI: Drivers ignoring flashing red light

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Katherine Scott

EAKINS OVAL  November 17, 2009 (WPVI) -- Every motorist knows, or should know, that a flashing red light should normally be treated like a stop sign. Then why is a flashing red light at a dangerous Philadelphia crosswalk being ignored? And it’s all been caught on tape.

Over ten minutes during rush hour, Action News counted over two hundred cars that didn’t stop, only 42 did, and that’s just the ones we logged, we watched many others cruise right through. While pedestrians say the light has helped, more progress needs to be made.

The blinking red light on MLK Drive near the Philadelphia Museum of Art is not stopping drivers. Some do slow down and coast, but some barely touch the brakes.

For some pedestrians they call the recently installed blinking red a vast improvement to what it once was but even some drivers admit to not following the law to the letter.

"I did what they call a rolling stop. I didn’t see anybody so I slowed because I wanted to be a good example."

The Streets department is required to post the blinking light for a week before a standard traffic light is installed. While some drivers might not be accustomed to seeing the blinking light there officials say the meaning of the blinking light should be clear.

"All drivers should know a flashing red means stop. Maybe they don’t see anybody coming and coast through that’s violating the law."

It was at this intersection on MLK Boulevard this past spring when a father and his four year old son were hit by an SUV in the crosswalk and critically injured. The Bicycle Coalition has been advocating for safety improvements and believes the light will truly help but will need to be monitored.

"I think once it gets to a regular light it will help but in the end tickets will need to be written out," said John Boyle of the Bicycle Coalition.

I did speak to the man who was hit by a car here with his young son. He chose not to speak on camera but says while the light is a step in the right direction, until drivers are more aware of cyclists or there’s a footbridge, there will still be problems. He also told me, while they’re health is improving; both father and child have a ways to go in their rehabilitation.

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