In Our Opinion: Provo needs to talk the walk, too

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    “Grab onto my hand and look both ways before you cross,”is probably what Bernadette Martinez said to her 4-year-old daughter as they approached the crosswalk on 900 West and 700 South in Salt Lake Monday. A mother’s wise counsel, however did not prevent the two from being hit by a motorist that day.

    Martinez was not harmed and her daughter was in fair condition, but it is going to take more than pedestrians heeding motherly advice to end the rampant auto accidents in Utah. Since I-15 construction, Salt Lake has experienced a 25 percent increase in auto-pedestrian accidents, said Salt Lake City Police Chief Ruben Ortega in a recent Salt Lake Tribune article. The significant increase in accidents motivated Salt Lake City Prosecutor Cheryl Luke to send a letter to 3rd District’s associate presiding judge, Robin Reese, asking that fines for jaywalking, pedestrian crossing against a light, failing to yield to a pedestrian and passing a car at a crosswalk, be raised from $57 to $200.

    That’s great for Salt Lake, but Provo has problems too. For example, lights have been added to the crosswalk on 900 East by Deseret Towers and across from the Oak Hills Chapel and the crosswalk by the Tanner Building, by parking lot 26 had to be removed entirely because of continuous problems. University Police crime prevention officer, Bob Eyre said University Parkway and 450 East crosswalk is the worst on campus, which is why there is always an officer there for BYU events.

    There is no movement in Provo to increase the fines, which are not always a deterrent. What is needed more than a fine-hike however, is stricter enforcement, perhaps even stricter laws. In California, a pedestrian has the right of way always, even outside of a crosswalk. Not so in Utah, where the law only protects a pedestrian within crosswalk perimeters. Officers need to patrol with a more watchful eye. Would drivers be so apt to speed through crosswalks ignoring pedestrians if fines were strictly enforced?

    In California, a pedestrian has the right-of-way always, even outside of a crosswalk. Not so in Utah, where the law only protects a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

    But pedestrians and drivers both need to beware. Pedestrians need to follow mother’s advice and look both ways before crossing the street. Drivers need to slow down in areas with unlighted crosswalks and they need to be on a lookout for the occasional darting pedestrian. Most importantly, if a pedestrian is in the crosswalk, they must stop.

    This editorial is the opinion of The Daily Universe. Daily Universe opinions are not necessarily the opinions of Brigham Young University, its administrators or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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