Pedestrians looking to cross the street at intersections where streets and sidewalks meet at right angles will find crosswalks available, even if they are not marked with painted lines. These crosswalks extend the sidewalks across the streets and are usually identified by white lines, although yellow lines may be used for school crossings. It’s important to note that crosswalks can be located at corners or in the middle of the block, and some residential areas may not have marked crosswalks.
While pedestrians have the right-of-way in crosswalks, it’s essential to exercise caution and only cross when it’s safe to do so. Obeying traffic signals is crucial for both pedestrians and drivers. At many intersections, pedestrian signals are present, displaying the words “WALK” and “DON’T WALK” or featuring a person walking in white and a raised hand in orange. Whether these signals are in place or the standard traffic lights are used, pedestrians must adhere to the pedestrian rules.
To activate pedestrian signals, you may need to press a button to receive the “WALK” or walking person signal. When the signal changes to “WALK” or the walking person symbol, take a moment to look left, right, and left again before crossing the street. Always yield the right-of-way to any vehicle that is already in the intersection before the signal changed.
Flashing “DON’T WALK” or raised hand signals indicate that you should refrain from starting to cross the street as there may not be enough time to reach the other side before vehicles begin moving across your path. However, if you have already started crossing the roadway when these signals appear, you may proceed to finish crossing.
Remember, it is vital to obey all traffic signs and signals when crossing the street. Take note of vehicles that seem unlikely to stop and avoid forcefully claiming the right-of-way from a vehicle. In signal-controlled intersections without pedestrian signals, pedestrians must follow the red, yellow, or green signal lights.
When crossing at an intersection controlled by stop signs, ensure that drivers see you before attempting to cross the roadway. Never assume that all drivers will stop just because one vehicle has stopped for you. Take turns with approaching vehicles and only proceed to cross the street when all other vehicles have come to a halt.
In intersections without traffic signals or signs, drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within any crosswalk, regardless of whether it is marked or unmarked. However, it is important to give drivers a chance to yield and not simply step off the curb when there are oncoming vehicles nearby.
Making eye contact with a driver does not guarantee that they will see you or yield the right-of-way. While the law states that drivers must prioritize the safety of pedestrians, it may not be enough if the driver cannot stop in time.
Crossing a roadway between intersections, where no pedestrian crosswalks are present, is commonly known as “jaywalking.” If you choose to jaywalk, remember to yield the right-of-way to all vehicles as it’s both dangerous and against the law. Jaywalking is a significant cause of accidents and should be avoided.
Additionally, it is illegal to engage in skiing, snowboarding, or sledding on or across any roadway in a manner that interferes with the movement of vehicles. Local ordinances established by cities, towns, and counties may regulate pedestrians, skateboards, skates, and rollerblading on highways, sidewalks, and roadways.
For more information on road safety and pedestrian guidelines, visit 5 WS. Stay safe and always prioritize your well-being as you share the road with light rail vehicles.