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What you need to know for 01/19/2018

Pedestrians take precedence

Pedestrians take precedence

Crosswalk law often ignored by motorists, cops

You see such prominent reminders in other parts of the country, but the crosswalk in front of the Niskayuna Co-op supermarket is one of the few in the region to bear cones with signs atop them to alert motorists about the need to stop for pedestrians.

Apparently even these warnings, furnished by the market, weren’t enough to get Rafael Garcia to yield for 75-year-old Ellen Fogarty, as she was trying to navigate from a parking lot, across a busy street and into the store Monday.

Fogarty’s death is tragic, but hardly surprising given how so few motorists in this state seem aware of the law requiring them to yield right of way to pedestrians in a crosswalk when there’s no traffic signal. It’s been on the books since 1960, but gets ignored regularly — by motorists as well as police.

According to state Department of Motor Vehicle statistics, fewer than 3,000 tickets have been written for the violation in each of the last four years, including 1,933 so far this year. That hardly seems enough given how often distracted or ignorant motorists violate the law.

Perhaps things would be different if more motorists were aware of the law (more prominent cone signs like the Co-op’s might help spread the word), or if authorities stepped up enforcement.

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