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Monday, March 28, 2011

Knoxville downtown pedestrian struck by turning vehicle

It was just reported that a woman was struck at the intersection of Church Avenue and State Street. She was crossing with the light in the crosswalk, when a vehicle turned into her.

Looking at a map of the intersection, where Church Ave is two-way and State St one way, it appears that the most likely scenario is that the car driver did not notice her when she crossed. Now, the car was turning, and since the pedestrian had a green, it follows that the car must have had a red light.

Currently, there are proposed bills in the general assembly that would eliminate the requirement for a driver to come to a complete stop before making a right-on-red. Making a complete stop at a red light gives the driver a chance to thoroughly scan the intersection to be sure that it's clear before proceeding. Treating a red light as a yield doesn't provide as much opportunity to check, which is probably why yield-controlled intersections are usually designed to require much less of an area to be checked. This incident is but one example of possible negative safety implications of the proposed bills.

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