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New Crosswalk Law Protects Pedestrians

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Apr 30, 2010 3:20PM

Photo by mr. martini
A bill has passed the state legislature and is now headed for Gov. Quinn's desk that, if signed, will change the way drivers have to treat crosswalks across the state. The bill, Illinois House Bill 43, states "where traffic signals are not in place, vehicles must stop and yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk rather than yielding the right-of-way by slowing down or stopping if need be." In other words, you'd better come to a complete, full stop whenever there's a pedestrian in the crosswalk. Fines for failing to do so could range from $50 to $500, according to The Expired Meter. Illinois would become the twelfth state in the country (plus D.C.) to enact such a law.

If there's skepticism about the bill, it's about the lack of signage required for each crosswalk. Given the enormous numbers of crosswalks across the state, Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago), the bill's chief Senate sponsor, said, "I don’t want to create a big burden of cost." But after hearing criticism from those such as Sen. John Millner (R-Carol Stream), who claimed pedestrians who stepped into a crosswalk assuming a car would stop could be hit by "some knucklehead who isn't paying any attention," Steans said she'd consider a trailer bill to address that issue.