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Las Vegas Valley’s left-turning drivers often blind to pedestrians

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Motorists often turn left into the paths of oncoming pedestrians and motorcyclists rather than stopping for them as required by law, said Erin Breen, head of the Vulnerable Road Users Project at UNLV.

“Drivers fail to look all the way left and make their turn, only to find themselves faced with a pedestrian who is legally using the crosswalk,” Breen said. “At that point, there’s no time to stop for them.”

Sometimes, the collisions are fatal.

A motorcyclist was fatally struck by the driver of a 2017 Honda Civic that was turning left onto Spring Mountain Road near Spring Shower Drive around 7:35 p.m. on Feb. 12. Las Vegas police said neither driver appeared to be impaired.

On June 18, a 60-year-old woman was walking in a crosswalk on Tropicana Avenue when she was hit by a Dodge truck that was turning from Mojave Road. Police said that the 82-year-old driver of the truck stopped and called for help.

More recently, a man was struck by a 2014 Toyota Corolla that was turning left onto Flamingo Road from southbound Maryland Parkway. The pedestrian was taken to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center but later died. Police said the driver stayed at the scene and did not show signs of impairment.

When stopped at traffic signals with a solid green ball or flashing yellow left-turn arrows, drivers waiting to make a left turn are required to yield to oncoming traffic, including motorcycles, while also watching for pedestrians, Breen said.

Last year was the deadliest on record for pedestrians in Clark County, where 78 people were fatally struck by vehicles on public roads. However, those numbers appear to be trending downward, according to figures released Friday by Nevada’s Office of Traffic Safety.

Clark County reported 26 pedestrian deaths between Jan. 1 and June 30 in Clark County, down from 37 during the same time in 2017.

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