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A tool that might save pedestrian lives

New York residents know that it is often difficult for pedestrians to cross a road that has fast-flowing traffic. Pedestrians are always at a disadvantage when confronted with moving vehicles, and sometimes the most practical place for a person to cross a roadway might be right in the middle of a long block. One tool that might provide a solution to this problem, while saving lives, is the pedestrian hybrid beacon.

The pedestrian hybrid beacon, or high intensity activated crosswalk, is a tool that warns drivers of pedestrian crossings. The beacon is composed of two red lights over a yellow light and is activated when a pedestrian pushes a button installed within easy reach on the sidewalk. The yellow light flashes to warn drivers to slow down. Then the red lights flash and the word 'walk" is displayed in red indicating that pedestrians can cross the roadway. The word 'walk" changes to a flashing hand, in orange, warning pedestrians that their time for crossing is about to finish. After the beacon's red lights flash on and off, they turn dark, meaning that the time for pedestrian crossing is over and cars can continue.

The beacon, which might be installed mid-block or in other places where a full pedestrian signal might not be needed, such as in front of schools, is a tool that might prevent car accidents. It is estimated that about 70 percent of pedestrians who are hit by vehicles travelling at 40 miles per hour or more die are killed as a result of the impact, and drivers tend to go faster midblock, making those locations ideal for installation.

Even if this technology becomes widespread, pedestrian accidents will continue to happen. Those who have been injured by a negligent driver who has not yielded the right of way may want to have the assistance of a personal injury attorney in seeking compensation for the resulting medical bills and other damages.

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