Ordinance Protecting Ann Arbor Pedestrians Floundering

Pedestrian safety is an ongoing issue in the busy streets of Ann Arbor. Last year, city lawmakers passed an ordinance aimed at giving citizens on a foot a clear right-of-way. But, after more than 12 months, many local motorists still are not getting the message.

The Ordinance

Last July, the Ann Arbor City Council adopted ORD-10-28, a change to the city code requiring motorists to yield to every pedestrian within or approaching a marked or unmarked crosswalk whenever traffic signals are not present or operational (unmarked crosswalks are located at intersections).

The new requirements are more stringent than statewide standards, which only compel drivers to stop for pedestrians already within a crosswalk. City Council members hoped ORD-10-28 would foster a more pedestrian-friendly culture in Ann Arbor.

Problems with Compliance

Despite the new law, most local drivers continue to zip by as walkers at street corners wait patiently for a break in traffic.

The Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition ("WBWC"), the group that originally pushed for the passage of ORD-10-28, blames a lack of education: most drivers simply do not know they are supposed to be stopping at crosswalks. With financial assistance from the Michigan Department of Community Health, the Downtown Development Authority, and local employer Thomson Reuters, the WBWC is launching an initiative to make drivers more aware of the law change (including the potential penalties for failure to comply: a fine of $100 and two points on a driver's license).

A Pressing Concern

In 2010, 132 pedestrians were killed on Michigan's roads; another 1,791 were injured. The vast majority of these pedestrian accidents occurred on local streets in Michigan communities.

Ann Arbor's city council is attempting to make traveling by foot a safer endeavor on area roadways. However, until more drivers get on board with ORD-10-28, walkers and runners will have to keep on their toes.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, contact an experienced Ann Arbor personal injury attorney to explore your legal options.