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Pedestrian hybrid beacon makes pedestrians safer

New Jersey pedestrians may be interested to learn about a traffic signalling innovation known as the pedestrian hybrid beacon. The devices are installed in mid-block pedestrian crossings. Studies have shown that these are the most dangerous crossings for pedestrians due to motorist speed. Over 70 percent of pedestrian deaths happen in these types of crossing. Vehicles traveling at a speed higher than 40 mph kill more than 80 percent of pedestrians that they hit.

The pedestrian hybrid beacon helps to prevent these types of accidents by showing a steady red light to drivers. It is activated by pedestrians and first shows a flashing and then steady yellow light before giving a walk indication. An orange hand flashes to pedestrians and the red light flashes to drivers to alert them that the pedestrian crossing time is at an end.

The beacon is considered a good compromise between pedestrian and driver needs because it is installed in places where there is not a high enough volume of pedestrians to warrant a full crosswalk, yet people still need to be able to safely cross the street. It can reduce almost 30 percent of all vehicle crashes and nearly 70 percent of pedestrian accidents. The only major impediment to its implementation is educating drivers and pedestrians about its use, and this can be done prior to installation.

A pedestrian hit by a vehicle may have serious injuries, and in some cases, insurance may not offer enough coverage to take care of the individual's expenses. In such a case, the person may wish to consult an attorney about filing a civil lawsuit. This is possible even if there are no successful criminal charges against the driver because in a civil lawsuit, it is only necessary to prove that the driver was negligent.

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