Crosswalk Flag

Photo: City of Bridgeport - via Fast Company

If crossing a street is like a life-and-death game of chicken, then perhaps you need this: "crosswalk flags" that pedestrians crossing a street in the City of Bridgeport, Connecticut, can wave to make themselves more visible to drivers.

"These pedestrian flags are out of the box thinking," said Joseph Gaudett, Bridgeport police chief to WNPR, "We've provided small one-foot-by-one-foot flags that people can hold in thier hand to make traffic aware that they're out there, that they're coming, they'd like to cross."

The idea is that pedestrians would carry and wave the neon-colroed flags while crossing the street, then deposit the flag in a box on the opposite side for the next person.

At $500 total project costs, it's certainly cheaper than putting traffic lights, though the city acknowledged that theft is a problem (in fact, one flag has already been stolen). "When we talked to Salt Lake City [which initated a similar project back in 2000], they said that was probably the biggest issue with the flags," Gaudett said to WNPR. "They tend to walk away with the pedestrians. But it's a small amount to pay. If we can save one life by using these flags then it's absolutely worth it."

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I've seen these for a couple years at least in other communities (old enough in some cases to have really faded flags). It is useful for kids that might be on the short side for good visibility. I've also found it handy when driving through areas where it is hard to tell if someone is waiting to cross the main street, or a side street, or waiting for the bus, instead of having everyone slow down and find the person not crossing.
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I know various places in Washington use these, though they are orange. My nephew insists on carrying one to cross the street. This is made difficult when they are all on the other side.
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