Illinois Pedestrian Safety Steps Up with Passage of HB 43

May 11, 2010

Congratulations to America Walks member group Active Transportation Alliance for their work on this issue! Advocates for safe and accessible transportation are celebrating the Illinois Assembly’s passage of HB 43, a measure that will drastically improve pedestrian safety in Illinois. 

The bill, championed by Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Luis Arroyo, will require drivers to come to a complete stop for pedestrians in all crosswalks – even those that are unmarked or don’t have a stop sign or traffic light.

Until now, Illinois law required drivers to yield and stop only when necessary. That language has lead to confusion among drivers and pedestrians, and it’s made enforcement difficult. The bill now moves to Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk for his approval. The law will go into affect immediately after he signs the bill.

The Active Transportation Alliance – Chicagoland’s voice for better biking, walking and transit – worked for nearly two years earning support for this important measure. Key advocacy efforts came from the group’s members, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and pediatricians the  metropolitan Planning Council. Unique to this list was the support from an active group of students at Curie Metropolitan High School.

“Illinois has taken a major step toward creating safer streets and prioritizing people on our roads,” said Rob Sadowsky, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance. “I congratulate the General Assembly for taking this bold and important step.  Our leaders have made walking a more convenient and safer option. That means safer streets for a large population of people who are unable to drive or choose not to drive.”

Illinois joins dozens of states with similar laws, including California and Massachusetts. Until this bill’s approval, Illinois required drivers to yield and stop only when necessary. This law clarifies driver responsibility and makes it easier for police to enforce the law.

More than 6,000 pedestrians are hit in Illinois each year, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Those crashes resulted in more than 1,000 serious injuries and 170 fatalities a year.