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MI Pedestrian Accident - Ann Arbor Using HAWK Signal to Avoid Pedestrian Accidents in Busy Intersections

As the state economy continues to dwindle, more Michigan residents are braving the cold and taking other modes of transportation to get around their community. Whether it means taking the bus, riding a bicycle, or even walking, many people are choosing saving money over time in their travels. While these modes of transportation are both economically and environmentally friendly options, any Michigan injury lawyer would advise travelers to proceed with caution. Having more people on the sidewalks and streets, either walking or biking, creates an increased chance of an accident with a motorist–particularly in busy intersections where traffic often flows. Unfortunately, in the battle between person (or bike) and a car, the car will win every time, likely causing serious personal injury or death in the process.

In an effort to prevent Michigan pedestrian accidents from occurring, cities across the state have taken measures to help both those on foot and behind the wheel share the roads. The city of Ann Arbor recently implemented a new High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk signal (HAWK) to help pedestrians cross the street at one of their busiest intersections downtown, the corner of Huron Street and Third. Influential factors in the signal’s location: its direct or close proximity to the Ann Arbor YMCA, senior center, bus stop, and residential areas.

The first of its kind in Michigan, the HAWK signal is activated by pedestrians by pressing a button. This will cause the traffic signals above the crosswalk to turn to a solid yellow light, altering motorists to slow down. After a few moments, the signal will turn to a solid red, allowing the pedestrian to cross the street safely. Once the light turns to a blinking red, drivers can proceed when the coast is clear. If the HAWK signal is not in use, the light will not flash and motorists can travel through the intersection without stopping.

According to Michigan Department of Transportation spokeswoman Keri Arend, the new technology is one that both those on foot and behind the wheel need to familiarize themselves with. “This will take a little bit of an educational campaign to get pedestrians and motorists used to the signal,” she stated. Despite the expected adjustment period, city managers are already noticing improvements in pedestrian safety.

Because of the positive results seen from this trial period, it is likely that more HAWK signals will be placed throughout the city. However, the changes will not be implemented immediately. When commenting on the question of additional pedestrian signals, Ann Arbor transportation program manager Eli Cooper explained, “The question of how many and where becomes an issue of resources.” Resources, likely meaning financial backing, can be hard to come by in Michigan today. However, it is also important that those who cross Michigan streets are as well-protected as possible.

With more people on city sidewalks and crossing the street, there is a much higher risk of a devastating accident occurring, causing great personal injury or death. However, as more HAWK signals (and other similar prevention measures) are implemented across the state, one can hope the amount of auto pedestrian accidents will significantly decrease. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident or a pedestrian accident, it is likely that several questions will arise. For answers, as well as the best legal advice and legal representation, it is essential to contact an experienced and skilled Michigan injury attorney for assistance. Doing so quickly is the first step to ensuring a positive outcome on your personal injury claim, as well as the compensation you deserve for your injuries.