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MUT crossing conundrum

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MUT crossing conundrum

Old 03-27-15, 09:47 PM
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MUT crossing conundrum

According to Washington state law,

Motorists must yield to pedestrians for an uncontrolled, but posted crossing, many of which have flashing yellow lights

Intersections controlled by traffic signals, stop on red, proceed on green, if inoperative treat as 4 way stop, flashing yellow proceed with caution, flashing red stop and proceed when clear.

All basic, and easy to understand.

A MUT we live near has two crossings controlled by user triggered traffic lights, a standard traffic light for the road, a standard pedestrian signal for the MUT.
They are resurfacing the road at one crossing and have the road signal set to flash yellow, and the MUT flashing red, and its causing confusion to both motorists and pedestrians.

So legally, is it still a controlled intersection, the flashing yellow giving motorists right of way over the pedestrians who have the flashing red? Or does the signal not functioning normally make it an uncontrolled crossing where pedestrians have right of way?
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Old 03-28-15, 07:52 AM
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My guess would be that cars legally have ROW unless someone is already in the crossing. EG, if you are approaching the crossing then cars have ROW. You have ROW once you have entered the crossing if you have done so when cars are far enough away to be able to react and stop.
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Old 03-28-15, 07:57 AM
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A flashing signal is not a traffic control signal. A traffic control signal shows lights "successively one at a time or in combination."

A red flashing signal is treated as a stop sign by bicyclists on the mup. So they stop.

But then bicyclists and pedestrians proceed as in a crosswalk.

When a pedestrian OR bicyclist enters the crosswalk, road traffic must yield.

See Chapter 46.61 RCW: RULES OF THE ROAD

We have a particular problem with collisions at one crosswalk, so they installed rectangular rapid flashing beacons facing road traffic and a red flashing signal facing the MUP, all controlled by automatic sensors. They then covered up the red flashing signal when someone misinterpreted the traffic laws, and then uncovered them when the interpretation was corrected.

(I should resist, but funny how cars never collided with trains at this intersection a few decades ago. Must be because trains only went through the intersection several times a day.)

-mr. bill

Last edited by mr_bill; 03-28-15 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 03-28-15, 08:35 AM
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In Illinois, a marked crossing means any car must stop for a ped or bike in the crossing - period.
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Old 03-28-15, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Wanderer
In Illinois, a marked crossing means any car must stop for a ped or bike in the crossing - period.
Same here, the problem is the the crossing signal for the MUT is flashing red which means stop, don't walk.
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Old 03-28-15, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by kickstart
Same here, the problem is the the crossing signal for the MUT is flashing red which means stop, don't walk.
That's not what it means. It's a stop sign, no more, no less. If you think a pedestrian can't ever cross at a stop sign....

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Old 03-28-15, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill
That's not what it means. It's a stop sign, no more, no less. If you think a pedestrian can't ever cross at a stop sign....

-mr. bill
That's incorrect, Washington law specifically says a pedestrian may not enter a crossing on a flashing red crossing signal. That is whats causing the confusion to the both pedestrians on the MUT, and drivers on the road as they to can see the crossing signal. Most people do know the basic laws, and there is a conflict of signals.

Edit: looks like somebody followed up and solved the problem. The pedestrian signal is now dark, making it unquestionably a normal crosswalk.

Last edited by kickstart; 03-28-15 at 08:17 PM.
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Old 03-28-15, 07:59 PM
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Why sweat a legal question. If a pedestrian or cyclist, look both ways, confirm that there' a gap, or that approaching cars are slowing to a stop, then proceed when safe. Even when crossing as a pedestrian with a green light, I eyeball approaching traffic and confirm that it's slowing for a stop.

If you're broadsided by a car, it hurts the same regardless of who had the right of way.
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Old 03-28-15, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
Why sweat a legal question. If a pedestrian or cyclist, look both ways, confirm that there' a gap, or that approaching cars are slowing to a stop, then proceed when safe. Even when crossing as a pedestrian with a green light, I eyeball approaching traffic and confirm that it's slowing for a stop.

If you're broadsided by a car, it hurts the same regardless of who had the right of way.
When I encountered this the other day there were pedestrians and drivers in all 4 directions not knowing what to do, When your companys name is written in 5 foot tall letters down the side of the truck its best to be both safe and legal.

I usually just run the signal when safe on my bike.
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Old 03-28-15, 09:12 PM
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Is it a red flashing signal 46.61.065, or a flashing don't walk signal, 46.61.060?

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Old 03-28-15, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by kickstart
When I encountered this the other day there were pedestrians and drivers in all 4 directions not knowing what to do,.....
I gather they're not all still there waiting for a ruling. At least you seem to have figured out a way out. We all get so caught up in the law, the rules, various traffic controls, and pavement markings that we forget that we can operate by common sense also.

So while the signal may have been ambiguous, the reality is that people can figure it out.
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Old 03-28-15, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill
Is it a red flashing signal 46.61.065, or a flashing don't walk signal, 46.61.060?

-mr. bill
The MUT had a flashing don't walk signal.

(2) Steady or flashing DON'T WALK or hand symbol—Pedestrians facing such signal shall not enter the roadway. Vehicle operators shall stop for pedestrians who have begun to cross the roadway before the display of either signal as required by RCW 46.61.235(1).

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Old 03-28-15, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
I gather they're not all still there waiting for a ruling. At least you seem to have figured out a way out. We all get so caught up in the law, the rules, various traffic controls, and pavement markings that we forget that we can operate by common sense also.

So while the signal may have been ambiguous, the reality is that people can figure it out.
There actually was a bit of confusion, but yes, everybody eventually proceeded without incident. When I rode the MUT this evening the pedestrian crossing signal was dark, and the traffic light for the road was flashing yellow, so its no longer an issue.
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Old 03-28-15, 11:58 PM
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How busy is the intersection?

For cars:
Flashing Red = STOP.
Flashing Yellow = Yield.

And people work it out if one has a yield, and one has a stop.

I always consider the bigger vehicle to have the practical "right-of-way". I.E. a pedestrian may have the legal right of way, but never step in front of a moving vehicle.

Likewise, with the flashing lights. If the street is not very busy, then stop at the red flashing light, wait until the traffic clears, then safely proceed. If you only get 3/4 the way across the street before the next car comes, then that car should slow down sufficiently that you can clear the intersection.

If the traffic is very heavy, and a bike can't safely get all the way across, then I'm not quite sure, ask for a better light???

We have a few trigger operated crosswalks. Lights off = no pedestrians. Lights flashing = stop while pedestrians in the crosswalk, then proceed once the crosswalk is cleared.
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Old 03-29-15, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK
For cars:
Flashing Red = STOP.
Flashing Yellow = Yield.
I think flashing yellow means caution, not yield. Yield legally means that the other direction has default right-of-way.
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Old 03-29-15, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by kickstart
The MUT had a flashing don't walk signal.

(2) Steady or flashing DON'T WALK or hand symbol—Pedestrians facing such signal shall not enter the roadway. Vehicle operators shall stop for pedestrians who have begun to cross the roadway before the display of either signal as required by RCW 46.61.235(1).
It would have been clearer if you'd said that all along you know.

Yeah, they did that wrong. Seems like good people figured it out in the meantime and actually crossed the road. (At least, you haven't yet regaled us with stories of camps set up on the side of the MUP waiting for the DON'T WALK sign to change.)

And it seems like in the end the folks who did it wrong figured out relatively quickly that they did it wrong and undid the wrong.

So, the conundrum is mistakes happen?

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Old 03-29-15, 03:03 PM
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I was only hoping someone might know if there's a codified answer that I couldn't find myself, BF can be a good source of information regarding real issues when not derailed by the more hysterical types.
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Old 03-29-15, 04:25 PM
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Code follows practice - not the other way around. (Sadly, often by years.)

For example, in Washington State, "Nonfunctioning signal lights" are defined as unlit. Lots of signalized intersections now fallback to a panic mode - usually some blink blink blink blink.

But a never changing blink blink blink blink DON'T WALK is on its face absurd.

Anyhow, in Massachusetts, bicycles don't exist in crosswalks. In practice, so long as we don't collide with pedestrians while crossing in the crosswalk, all is well. Technically, by the code, to stay in defined law, we have to become pedestrians in the crosswalk by dismounting. But again, in practice....

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Old 03-30-15, 03:21 PM
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In OR, if a cyclist has even the tiniest bit of bike or body in the roadway at an unmarked or marked crosswalk the motorist is legally obliged to stop.

ORS 814.410 - Unsafe operation of bicycle on sidewalk - 2013 Oregon Revised Statutes

Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, a bicyclist on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk has the same rights and duties as a pedestrian on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk.
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