Everyone has seen the above sign or one very similar. It is a pedestrian crossing sign, informing drivers that they are in an area where people may cross the street. The way Florida and Idaho approach pediatrian crossing areas, however, is much different.
In Florida, as a whole, pedestrians cross at intersections, and when possible, at an installed crossing sign that let them know when to walk and when not to. Very rarely are pedestrians allowed to cross in the middle of a street that is not at an intersection, and in that case, they often build an overpass specifically for them so they can cross safely.
Idaho is different in this regard. There are many, many pedestrian crossing areas marked by sign and lines on the road only and are not at any intersection, in the middle of the street. On occasion, they will have an installed light which the pedestrians can turn on with the push of a button that will blink to give motorists warning, or they will have orange flags that the pedestrians can carry while crossing to give the motorists some warning and to make themselves more visable. In one instance at least, they have both the flashing sign and the flags. Problem is, the pedestrians often don’t watch to see if cars are stopping for them. They automatically assume that the cars, sometimes traveling at 40 MPH or more, will see them and stop.
These pedestrian crossing areas were very confusing when I first moved here. I don’t remember ever seeing a pedestrian crossing in the middle a street before. You can be driving along and out of the blue suddenly come across a pedestrian crossing area and have to stop to allow the walkers to pass. It is something I’ve had to watch for, having never seen such a thing before. I wouldn’t say these types of crossings don’t exist in Florida at all, but they are few and very far between.
I often hear news stories about pedestrians being hit by cars, and I have often wondered if they are being hit by Floridians and other out of state drivers who aren’t used to having to stop in the middle of a busy road for walkers. Sounds good anyway.