Cross Walk Flags Create a Pedestrian Safety Controversy

Safety advocates in Halifax, Nova Scotia have installed crosswalk flags at over 150 crosswalks in the city. The question is whether the flags make anyone safer.
November 12, 2018, 8am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Oliver Moore reports on a controversy created by crosswalk flags, "red-orange flags that pedestrians can wave to increase their visibility as they cross the intersection," in the Canadian city of Halifax.

A safety advocacy organization known as the Crosswalk Safety Society of Nova Scotia has installed the flags at more than 150 locations around Halifax, creating controversy as a result. "The volunteer group that installs them believes the flags are popular," explains Moore, "[b]ut critics say the flags are pointless or, worse, cause risk by inducing a false sense of security and expectation, and places the burden on pedestrians to be seen."

While there is evidence from Halifax that the majority of pedestrians don't use the flag, there is also evidence that drivers are more likely to defer to pedestrians crossing while using the flags.

The article includes additional detail on the politics and realities of crosswalk flags.

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Published on Friday, November 9, 2018 in The Globe and Mail
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