Grand Rapids: Drivers now required by law to stop for pedestrians

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Starting Tuesday, Feb. 6, drivers in Grand Rapids are now required by law to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks. 

The City Commission approved the ordinance that starts Tuesday -- it's in effort to reduce the city's higher-than-average pedestrian-involved crashes in 2018. The new ordinance is part of a larger initiative called "Vision Zero," which is intended to eliminate traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries. 

The previous ordinance only required the drivers yield to the right of way instead of coming to a complete stop. The new ordinance states that drivers fully stop for pedestrians at both marked and unmarked crosswalks -- except at intersections where a police officer is controlling traffic or a traffic signal, pedestrians will have to wait for the "walk" signal before crossing. 

Reported traffic crashes are increasing nationally, statewide and locally -- including nearly 21 percent increase in Grand Rapids between 2009 and 2016, according to the City Commission. 

State data shows that Kent County reported 790 pedestrian-involved crashes between 2012 and 2015 -- the third highest among all Michigan counties. Among all pedestrian crashes between 2012 and 2015, 439 occurred in Grand Rapids -- or 56 percent of all crashes in the county. Additionally, 51.7 percent of pedestrian-involved crashes in the city during that span happened in or near an intersection.

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April Stevens is a multi-platform producer at WZZM 13. Have a news tip? Email, visit our Facebook page or Twitter.

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