There are different reasons why a crosswalk may fail to alert drivers to the presence of pedestrians. Sometimes there is insufficient lighting to illuminate the walk, or the structure of the road curvature minimizes crosswalk visibility. Regardless of the reason, road agencies responsible for the streets in your community must make sure a crosswalk is as visible as possible to prevent pedestrian injury.
The U.S. Federal Highway Administration has looked into the issue of crosswalk visibility and has found different enhancements that may make crosswalks and the people who use them more discernable to motorists.
Yield and stop for pedestrian signs
Road agencies can install signs that alert drivers in advance, perhaps 20 or 50 feet from a walk depending on the relevant traffic laws. These signs are often yellow in color, take the shape of a diamond, and show a silhouette of a person crossing the road. In situations where there are two- or three-lane roads, authorities may also use in-street signs that alert a driver to stop or yield to pedestrians.
Traffic signals and signs may not be enough to alert drivers to the presence of a crosswalk. This is why cities and states mark some walks with patterns that both drivers and pedestrians can see from a distance. This includes using bar pairs or a ladder or continental pattern. These measures may be particularly crucial at uncontrolled intersections and at midblock crossings.
Reflection and light
Another action road agencies can take is to make crosswalk markings reflective. Instead of using brick or paint, some road authorities employ thermoplastic tape to add reflections. Also, agencies should pay attention to the lights they use at crosswalks. The lights may actually create silhouette effects from pedestrians. It is possible to avoid this by installing the lights in forward positions.
While it is true that motorists are responsible for their driving behavior, local communities and the state of California are not off the hook if they do not take proper measures to make sure drivers can see a crosswalk. If state authorities are negligent, they may be liable for serious or fatal injuries that occur.