Ann Arbor City officials are reconsidering the new local law that requires motorist to stop for all pedestrians that are either “in” or “approaching” a crosswalk. Many residents have complained that the new law causes confusion amongst motorists and may cause more rear-end collisions that endanger the safety of pedestrians that are in front of a law-abiding stopped car. Even Ann Arbor Police Chief Barnett Jones has expressed his concerns that the new law may cause more rear-end collisions.
Motorist that fail to stop for a pedestrian face a $100 fine and two points on their driving record. The City is studying new ways that they can educate drivers and they have recently placed new temporary lighted warning signs on busy two lane roads like Plymouth Road in north-east Ann Arbor where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour.
Due to the fact that Ann Arbor draws so many out-of-town vistors that are either in-town for University of Michigan events (such as football or basketball games), an educational program that only targets local residents may not alleviate the danger from an uneducated out-of-town driver. Many people would prefer that Ann Arbor withdraw the new ordinance and go back to a law that is consistent with Michigan State law that holds that you must stop for pedestrians when they are “inside” the cross-walk. They argue that this eliminates the difficulty in predicting whether or not a pedestrian actually intends to enter the cross walk or is just walking past the cross-walk.
The Ann Arbor Mayor and City Council members are currently studying the new law and all options that have the potential to make Ann Arbor streets as safe as possible for pedestrians.