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How do medians help protect pedestrians in Rhode Island?

Karns & Kerrison

Pedestrians are killed every year while trying to cross the road. More than 70 percent of these accidents occur in the middle of the block where vehicles are traveling at higher speeds. Many pedestrians attempt to cross the road to access transit stations located on the other side. When constructed correctly, medians and other raised traffic channel measures have been shown to be effective in reducing the number of pedestrian crashes in these areas by 46 percent.

Similarly, medians account for a 39 percent decrease in pedestrian crashes when they are used in unmarked crosswalks. Medians are effective in pedestrian protection in several ways.

Medians can help increase pedestrian visibility to motorists as they cross the street, especially when they are used at intersections which do not have traffic signals. They have also been shown to help motorists slow down as they draw close to pedestrian-crossing areas. Medians can provide a safe place for pedestrians to stop in the middle of the street before proceeding across remaining lanes in order to get to the other side.

Not all intersections have a marked crosswalk, and even the presence of a median cannot entirely prevent a pedestrian from being hurt or killed. If a pedestrian has been injured in a collision while attempting to cross the street, a negligent driver or other party believed to be responsible can face civil liability for the injuries and damages they have caused. None of this information should be confused for legal guidance, and individuals finding themselves in a similar situation may wish to consult with a personal injury attorney for detailed advice.

Source: Federal Highway Administration, "Medians and Pedestrian Crossing Islands in Urban and Suburban Areas", October 28, 2014

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