Traffic Officials Urge Motorists, Joggers To Work Together To Ensure Pedestrian Safety


Traffic officials are urging New Canaan motorists and pedestrians, especially joggers or runners, to work together to ensure everyone’s safety at intersections where motor vehicles often converge with people on foot.

Coming up Harrison Avenue into South Avenue in New Canaan. Credit: Michael Dinan

After recent repaving along South Avenue between Farm Road and the downtown, crosswalk striping was not immediately re-installed at certain intersections, confusing some about “what cars needed to do,” according to Police Capt. John DiFederico.

“If you continue jogging down the sidewalk, not wanting to break stride, you have to make sure you make eye contact with cars and that they see you, too,” DiFederico said Oct. 17 during a meeting of the Traffic Calming Work Group. The administrative team, which includes representatives from police, fire, public works and emergency management, fields requests and complaints related to traffic calming and makes recommendations to New Canaan’s traffic authority, the Police Commission.

DiFederico addressed a complaint that came into the group regarding joggers who weren’t heeding motor vehicle traffic.

“You have to give people a chance to stop,” he said at the meeting, held at the New Canaan Police Department. “If you are running, it’s kind of hard to see people at some of those intersections. The line of sight is not always great, so you have to go through. I come up Harrison every morning and with the hedges there, you have to stop before coming to the crosswalk but you also have to proceed into the crosswalk to see traffic. So it’s kind of everybody has to work together.”

Under state law, pedestrians may not walk in the road where a usable sidewalk is provided.

In 2007, the legislature changed the law to require drivers to grant the right-of-way when a pedestrian has stepped “off the curb or into the crosswalk.”

According to the statute, when there is no sidewalk a pedestrian may walk in the roadway “only on the shoulder thereof and as far as practicable from the edge of such roadway,” according to the state law.

It also says: “No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb, sidewalk, crosswalk or any other place of safety adjacent to or upon a roadway and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close to such pedestrian as to constitute an immediate hazard to such pedestrian.”

One thought on “Traffic Officials Urge Motorists, Joggers To Work Together To Ensure Pedestrian Safety

  1. Lately, I’ve noticed more joggers/runners on South Avenue, at dusk and at night — some even wearing dark clothes — running in the road, not on the sidewalks. But not every driver is going to notice them. Whatever the benefits of running in the road, instead of on the sidewalk, seem insignificant when compared to getting hit!

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