Fall has finally arrived here in Hamilton in what feels like the longest year ever. With that comes a kid favorite holiday-Halloween. While Halloween might signify ghosts, goblins, candy, and things that go bump in the night to the younger generation, us who are a little older recognize an even scarier Halloween monster hiding in the shadows: pedestrian accidents and fatalities.
According to the National Safety Council, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and injured or killed on Halloween than any other night of the year.
With the Spooky Season approaching, here are some things drivers and pedestrians should keep in mind to keep Halloween the right kind of scary:
1. Pedestrians generally have the right of way while walking in the crosswalk.
If you are out and about in your car on Halloween, make sure you are paying very close attention, especially at intersections where trick-or-treaters and their parents may be trying to cross.
According to City of Hamilton Ordinance 371.01(a), unless there is a special pedestrian control sign in use, such as a “Walk” or “Don’t Walk” signal, a pedestrian has the right of way.
Any approaching driver must yield the right of way, slow down, or stop to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway when the pedestrian is on the half of the roadway the driver is on.
2. Pedestrians do have some responsibility while in a crosswalk.
Make sure to have an eye on the kiddos when waiting to cross at a crosswalk. While pedestrians are protected in crosswalks, under Ordinance 313.05(a) they must obey special pedestrian control signs like the ones mentioned above.
Further, they also cannot leave a curb and pop out on to a crosswalk in front of a vehicle so closely that they constitute an “immediate hazard” (Ordinance 371.01(b)).
3. Drivers should be extra vigilant when thinking about passing a car that seems to be stopped indefinitely at an intersection.
With all the little ghosts and witches out trick-or-treating, it can be difficult to see that the vehicle in front of you may be stopped in order to let pedestrians pass. Ordinance 371.01(d) states that when this is the case, any vehicle behind the stopped vehicle may not overtake and pass the vehicle that is allowing the pedestrians to cross on a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
4. Pedestrians must yield to vehicles on the road when not crossing in a crosswalk.
While we all know that impatient feeling you get when you want to quickly cross the road to the other side where the “good” houses with the “good” candy are, make sure everyone is looking both ways and making sure no cars are coming before you cross. Ordinance 371.03(a) clearly states that drivers have the right of way when there is no crosswalk present.
5. When walking between two intersections that both have traffic lights, make sure you are using one of the crosswalks located at either light.
Not only will this allow you to cross more safely and theoretically be getting more attention from passing cars, it is also mandated by Ordinance 371.03(c) that when a pedestrian is in between adjacent intersections that both have traffic lights, they may only cross in marked crosswalks.
Well there you have it, a few ways to keep all the trick-or-treaters (and yourself!) safe on the roadways this Halloween!
Let the haunts commence!