Drivers now required to come to complete stop for pedestrians at crosswalks

By TribLocal Community Member
July 22, 2010 at 12:15 p.m.

Source: Active Transportation Alliance

Active Transportation Alliance

Cyclists must yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Cyclists must yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Drivers in Illinois are now required to come to a complete stop for all pedestrians in crosswalks, thanks to Gov. Pat Quinn’s signature on Illinois House Bill 43.

The measure, championed by Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Luis Arroyo, requires drivers to come to a complete stop for pedestrians in all crosswalks – even those that are unmarked or don’t have a stop sign or traffic light.

The law is effective immediately. Penalties vary by county.

This measure clarifies driver responsibility and makes it easier for police to enforce the law. Until now, Illinois law required drivers to yield and stop only when necessary. That language has lead to confusion among drivers and pedestrians, and it’s made enforcement difficult.

“We applaud the governor and the Illinois Assembly for making pedestrian safety a priority in this state,” said Melody Geraci, interim executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance. “Our streets ought to be safe spaces for families, children and neighbors. This law helps to ensure walkable and livable communities where we live, work and play.”

Illinois joins dozens of states with similar laws, including California and Massachusetts.
More than 6,000 pedestrians are hit by cars in Illinois each year, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. These crashes result in more than 1,000 serious injuries and 170 fatalities annually.

The Active Transportation Alliance – Chicagoland’s voice for better biking, walking and transit­ – worked for nearly two years earning support for this important measure. Key supporters of the effort included group’s members, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and the Metropolitan Planning Council. And student advocates from Chicago’s Curie Metropolitan High School performed crucial outreach to legislators to help secure the bill’s passage.

The Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit, member-based advocacy organization that works to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. The organization builds a movement around active transportation, encourages physical activity, increases safety and builds a world-class transportation network. Formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, the Active Transportation Alliance is North America’s largest transportation advocacy organization, supported by more than 6,000 members, 1,000 volunteers and 35 full-time staff. For more information on the Active Transportation Alliance, visit www.activetrans.org or call 312.427.3325.