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Provo crosswalk dangers, man on crutches nearly struck

Posted at 6:38 PM, Jan 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-09 09:33:15-05

PROVO, Utah – Provo Police are urging drivers to slow down and pay attention after a security camera captured multiple close calls for a man crossing the street on crutches.

“The biggest thing is speed,” said Master Officer Austin Williams, as he stood on the sidewalk off Center Street near 300 West in Provo.

“We have 33 miles per hour, 34 miles per hour on this first car,” He said as he held up a radar gun and then proceeded to wave his arm up and down at the drivers, alerting them to slow down.

“I would have pulled them over,” Williams continued as the cars breezed by.

Watching cars fly down Center Street in Provo, you wouldn’t guess the speed limit is just 15 miles per hour.

“Another 30 miles per hour, 28 [mph],” Williams continued as he read the readings from the radar gun. “I would say that’s pretty consistent, cars going about 10 [mph] over is the norm.”

Provo Police officers, like Master Officer Williams, spend a lot of time monitoring the seven blocks between 500 West and 200 East on Center Street.

“We’ll usually spend two to three hours of enforcement a couple days a week,” Williams said. “We’re still just kind of fighting a losing battle.”

Provo Police said speeding on Center Street has been an issue for years -- just last year they issued 286 citations.

However, most of the time they said they aren’t issuing citations, they are answering the question, ‘why is the speed limit so low?’ and educating the public.

“For some reason in this area, we feel like pedestrians are a nuisance, but they’re part of our community and they’re traveling just like we are just in a different way,” Williams said. “Vehicles are just going too fast and can’t stop.”

Center Street is considered a ‘pedestrian mall’ meaning pedestrians always have the right-of-way. Still, cars rarely slow down or stop.

In security footage captured Tuesday, you can watch as a man on crutches tries to use the crosswalk at 400 West and Center Street. He starts to walk, but cars barely slow down – once he notices drivers aren’t stopping, he starts moving faster, waving his crutches in the air trying to get their attention.

“It doesn’t really surprise me and that’s said,” Williams said on the footage.

Looking at the tape, Williams can spot four major violations (among many other minor ones).

“So the first violation was this vehicle as they crossed, he was actually in the roadway, and then as he gets to this spot halfway across the road, this vehicle was required to stop for him and didn’t, this vehicle was required to stop and then this vehicle in the white was required to wait until he cleared the roadway,” He said as he pointed to each car in violation as he watched the video back.

Provo Police said pedestrians do have an obligation to walk up to the edge of the road and make sure cars can see them. But, once they step foot on the roadway, all traffic on their side of the street should come to a halt. Once the pedestrian is in the center, the first side can start to drive again, and the next side should be completely stopped.

“Your yellow light is them approaching, your red light is when they’re on the roadway,” Williams said.

Despite pedestrian markers at every crosswalk, a low-speed limit and a $120 base fine on a citation for failure to yield to a pedestrian – people don’t seem to slow down.

In the short time FOX 13 spent on Center Street, we witnessed people running to make it across, cars passing while people were in the roadway and failing to stop altogether.

Cars even failed to stop for FOX 13’s photographer. While walking across the street with his camera and tripod, a blue 4-door sedan blew by while he was halfway across.

Police believe the solution is in the speed limit. They just need people to follow it.

“We all want to get where we want to go, but we also don’t want to end up with somebody on our windshield,” Williams said. “I think that would be a bad day for everybody involved.”