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Zach England
07-07-2011, 5:39 PM
I am a full-time pedestrian. I have never driven a car in my life, so I've obviously never had to take a drivers' test. I know laws will vary a bit between municipalities, but I think this should be pretty universal in the US.

I notice there are different types of pedestrian crossings. Some have "zebra stripes" and "stop" or "yield" sings. I know that I can always cross at these as long as a car approaching has a safe distance to stop.

Some have zebra stripes but no signs. Do these operate the same way? I have always assumed so.

Then there are crossings that are just two white lines perpendicular to the flow of traffic and there are no signs or lights or other indicators. I always thought these were like suggested crossing points, but one should wait until there is no oncoming traffic before walking, but recently someone told me that these are the same to the drivers as a striped crossing or a crossing with a signal--that I as a pedestrian can legally and rightly cross at any time as long as oncoming traffic can safely stop. There is one of these crossings half a block from my house on a pretty busy street, so I have, with trepidation, been following this advice. A few days ago I had the driver of a big pickup lay on his horn (he had plenty of distance to stop safely and indeed he did) as he approached the "crosswalk" and today my dog and I were within a few feet a delivery van in a similar situation, with the driver shouting things I dare not type on this forum. Understand that I am not darting out in front of traffic. I am entering the street slowly and cautiously and only continuing when I see an oncoming vehicle beginning to slow down. These cars have plenty of time and distance to stop--I am sure of it. In both cases the drivers did indeed yield, but expressed contempt about doing so.

I know that vehicles MUST ALWAYS YIELD to pedestrians, but I try hard to obey the rules and only cross streets legally because I feel it is a matter of courtesy since I also expect drivers and cyclists to obey the laws and be courteous to me.

So what's the law? Can anyone advise?

Ted Calver
07-07-2011, 5:53 PM
Zach, First step is to look at the MUTCD. Part of that sets standards for pavement markings, which may or may not be adopted by states and municipalities. You will have to check out how your state interprets or modifies these standards to determine the "law" in your location.
"The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, or MUTCD defines the standards used by road managers nationwide to install and maintain traffic control devices on all public streets, highways, bikeways, and private roads open to public traffic. The MUTCD is published by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) under 23 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 655, Subpart F."

David Hostetler
07-07-2011, 6:02 PM
For starters. No matter what the law says, ALWAYS make sure that approaching drivers SEE and ACKNOWLEDGE you. You may have the legal right of way, but if somebody is distracted and runs your say 200 lb body over with a 7,000 lb truck, the law can only provide for your widow...

Callan Campbell
07-07-2011, 6:08 PM
Zach, contact your local authorities for the best info as laws differ from place to place. Sorry to hear you get yelled at from time to time. I had guy behind me [we were both in the left turn lane waiting] honk in anger last week since he apparently felt I should, or could, "fly" through the on-coming cars, deftly dodging them and make that left turn as the light turned yellow into red.
then, you guessed it,laid on the horn once the left turn signal came back on[like RIGHT at the same instant]. People get major emotions once they get behind the wheel. Road Rage is real and no joke.

Matt Meiser
07-07-2011, 6:18 PM
Right in the eyes of the law, but dead due to road rage might not be worthwhile.

John Coloccia
07-07-2011, 6:25 PM
The drivers are cursing because in many localities, you MUST stop for all pedestrians in the cross walk, even if they are way on the other side of the street and they step out carelessly. I have friends that have been ticketed for this, so drivers are understandably annoyed when someone is hanging out anywhere in the crosswalk. It's not your fault, and it's not their fault....it's the asphault. I always wanted to say that :)

Well meaning but idiotic laws combined with ornery and idiotic law enforcement make for a bad situation for everyone.

I ride a bicycle so I well understand the frustrations of walking and riding. At the same time, I drive and well understand the frustration of driving with a population of bicyclists and pedestrians that are clueless. People like us who try to do the right thing are caught in the crossfire.

Mike Henderson
07-07-2011, 6:52 PM
Here in CA, the law says that a vehicle must yield right of way to a pedestrian while crossing the street. Many people think that means that as long as the pedestrian has one foot on the highway, the driver has to wait. But that's not efficient, and doesn't improve safety. Whether you hinder a pedestrian is up to the police officer who sees the situation so it's better not to cut a pedestrian too close. For a reference on this, see here (http://www.bestsyndication.com/?q=100407_california_cross_walk_laws_right_of_way_ legal_issues_who.htm).

Mike

M Toupin
07-07-2011, 11:12 PM
Vehicles and fragile human bodies don't mix well...

Having investigated way too many fatal accidents, I can tell you two things; first, The vehicle ALWAYS wins. Second, your next of kin really isn't going to care if you had the "Legal right of way".

A quick Google found the Utah Code applicable to pedestrians.

Mike

-----------------------------------------------------------
Utah Code

Title 41

Motor Vehicles
Chapter 6a

Traffic Code
Section 1001

Pedestrians subject to traffic-control devices -- Other controls.
41-6a-1001. Pedestrians subject to traffic-control devices -- Other controls.
(1) A pedestrian shall obey the instructions of a traffic-control device specifically applicable to the pedestrian unless otherwise directed by a peace officer.
(2) A pedestrian is subject to traffic and pedestrian-control signals under Sections 41-6a-305 and 41-6a-306.


Section 1002

Pedestrians' right-of-way -- Duty of pedestrian.
41-6a-1002. Pedestrians' right-of-way -- Duty of pedestrian.
(1) (a) Except as provided under Subsection (2), when traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation, the operator of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way by slowing down or stopping if necessary:
(i) to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is on the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling; or
(ii) when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.
(b) Subsection (1)(a) does not apply under conditions of Subsection 41-6a-1003(2).
(c) A pedestrian may not suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.
(2) The operator of a vehicle approaching a school crosswalk shall come to a complete stop at the school crosswalk if:
(a) a school speed limit sign has the warning lights operating; and
(b) the crosswalk is occupied by a person.
(3) If a vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the operator of any other vehicle approaching from the rear may not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.

Section 1003

Pedestrians yielding right-of-way -- Limits on pedestrians.
41-6a-1003. Pedestrians yielding right-of-way -- Limits on pedestrians.
(1) A pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the roadway.
(2) A pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where there is a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the roadway.
(3) Between adjacent intersections at which traffic-control signals are in operation, a pedestrian may not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.
(4) (a) A pedestrian may not cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by a traffic-control device.
(b) If a pedestrian is authorized to cross diagonally under Subsection (4)(a), the pedestrian shall cross only as directed by the appropriate traffic-control device.

Section 1004

Emergency vehicle -- Necessary signals -- Duties of operator -- Pedestrian to yield.
41-6a-1004. Emergency vehicle -- Necessary signals -- Duties of operator -- Pedestrian to yield.
(1) A pedestrian shall yield the right-of-way to an authorized emergency vehicle upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle using audible or visual signals in accordance with Section 41-6a-212 or 41-6a-1625.
(2) This section does not relieve the operator of an authorized emergency vehicle from:
(a) the duty to drive with regard for the safety of all persons using the highway; nor
(b) from the duty to exercise care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian.

Kent A Bathurst
07-08-2011, 6:56 AM
.........I know that vehicles MUST ALWAYS YIELD to pedestrians......

Not universally true. For example, from my personal experience, I can tell you that in Manhattan, they lean on the horn, and press down on the foot-feed. :D

Perry Holbrook
07-08-2011, 8:25 AM
While visiting downtown Columbus OH a couple of years ago, my wife and I learned that it is apparently a local sport to see how close a speeding car can come to someone crossing the street (within a crosswalk) without actually hitting them. Although, we were warned by the locals of the dangers of crossing the streets, we still had a couple of close calls. We couldn't figure out why the police didn't enforce the law. It was bad enough that we plan to never visit again.

Perry

Lee Schierer
07-08-2011, 8:51 AM
It used to be that we had drivers education classes in most schools and drivers learned not only the laws, but were also instructed on driving courtesy. However those classes ended with most school budget cuts 30 years ago. The result was that parents with too little time spent enough time with their young driver to allow them to pass the state driving test, figuring that if they could pass the test they were a good enough driver and they were off the hook for taking their kids anywhere. Besides if the state says they can drive who are they to say no. If they leave in a rural area and learned to drive the subject of crosswalks never came up so young drivers may not even be aware of the law. They didn't have to get a perfect score on the written test to get a license. Then those kids had kids and taught them to drive....you can see where this is going.

In some states, there is no law or at least no enforcement of the law regarding vehicles stopping for pedestrians. Drivers from those states don't learn to stop at cross walks so even when they are out of state or change states they don't stop. Keep in mind that in some municipalities it is illegal to cross the street at any place other than a designated cross walk or at an intersection. They refer to this as jay walking and you can be ticketed for doing it.

Zach England
07-08-2011, 9:30 AM
OK, thanks. I am gathering that I may indeed be right and lawful, but of course common sense should prevail.

A "pet peeve" of mine:

Drivers who stop completely when I am intending to cross somewhere where there is not a cross walk. Sometimes I will be standing at the curb, especially when I have bags of groceries, waiting for traffic to ease in both directions to let me safely cross without forcing any cars to yield to me. A car going one way stops, so I have to determine if I should either wave that motorist on or cross, hoping that any cars coming the other way will also stop. I understand that they are just trying to be courteous to me, but I feel like if I am making a crossing of questionable legality I should be forced to yield to traffic both ways.

I want to obey the rules, but let's be honest. Living in a smallish city that is designed primarily with motorists in mind means that sometimes timeliness and convenience will trump legality.

Dan Hintz
07-08-2011, 9:42 AM
Things get really fun in D.C. You are supposed to cross in the designated lanes... except when you're between two corners where one or both do not have a stop sign or light (and how are we supposed to know if it has a sign withought being close to it?).

Check out the diagram on page 4 (sorry for the huuuuuge Google link):
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=4&ved=0CDEQxQEwAw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fdocs.google.com%2Fviewer%3Fa%3Dv% 26q%3Dcache%3Aqr4TS7xxGrQJ%3Awww.mwcog.org%2Fuploa ds%2Fcommittee-documents%2FvVZbX1o20070920105214.doc%2Bvehicle%2B stop%2Bpedestrians%2BD.C.%26hl%3Den%26gl%3Dus%26pi d%3Dbl%26srcid%3DADGEESgAcWISNjUCEbiMLauD6wAuQWKWw F78D3fBqTAGj4y95haYU7LuMaGF-9cmMbM7AzbhhHv-fFdSQa9FWSqMBLUTToo2PBURhBxsUIdQZbHmzSmVdDsWOOSZ0W GEg52kGTEDQ1fX%26sig%3DAHIEtbSjdCy6618M9bcuZxikQ5M csXPcTg&rct=j&q=vehicle%20stop%20pedestrians%20D.C.&ei=zvoWToX_EoHu0gHqpaEu&usg=AFQjCNGIU0IU8r931rltdtDwmsKqJm2Cyg&cad=rja

Phil Thien
07-08-2011, 9:56 AM
I agree with the posters that, as a pedestrian, you really have to be mindful of the approaching cars more than the laws.

I walk or ride to/from work, where we keep a company car for me to use if I need to go somewhere.

And what concerns me are drivers that try to show the courtesy of stopping for me to enter a cross-walk, only to have other drivers behind them zoom around them.

So I'd just as soon all the cars keep going, and I'll wait for a time when I can safely cross without requiring any courtesy from drivers.

If it is an especially busy street, I will find a controlled crossing.

David Weaver
07-08-2011, 10:13 AM
I can only offer one piece of advice, which may vary from city to city. Pretend you're in frogger.

I am a professional pedestrian during the week also, but rather than relying on the law, I always check the lights and then check the people in the cars. I often cross against the lights, but only when the cars agree with it.

The thing that most often clips people here is the city buses. For whatever reason, they will usually not stop, and if they do, they will stop such that you're kissing their front window.

I have to cross a 6 lane highway plus two turning lanes in the middle, which comically has a crosswalk at a high traffic intersection. If it's green, then the cars are going by. If i cross on red, then I have a chance of getting hit by people turning - there is never a point where you would ever want to apply the law there, the odds are against you in the long term. I "frogger" it and often stand in the turning lane if traffic is going one way and not the other, and I can get halfway across. it's safer than trying to cross all at once, which may literally have you waiting 4 or 5 minutes until a light cycle allows you to.

If the guys honking at you had the green, I would let them go by next time regardless of what the law might say. People do the same thing here in the city, and the traffic has the same reaction, but several times a year people get killed. I like to keep the odds in my favor as backing up a second for someone who is in a hurry doesn't ruin my morning, but it does ruin my morning when I almost get hit and they're screaming at me.

ray hampton
07-08-2011, 3:12 PM
I understand that this post are talking about walking across the street but when you are walking in a parking lot, DO YOU have the right- of -way even if you step out from behind a park vehicle into the path of a driver whom can not see around corner, most of the walkers are heading to a exercise club

Myk Rian
07-08-2011, 3:17 PM
Not universally true. For example, from my personal experience, I can tell you that in Manhattan, they lean on the horn, and press down on the foot-feed. :D
Ain't that the truth. And going through 8 red lights in a row is legal.

Larry Edgerton
07-08-2011, 8:59 PM
OK Zach, I just have to ask.

All day long the fact that you have never driven crossed my mind. You said you can walk with groceries, so I assume there is no problem with motor skills, so what made you decide to never drive?

As I was wondering I also thought back to the hundreds of thousands of dollars that I have spent on cars, a bit of a weakness of mine, and so may have answered my own question. Not really a possibility where I live and work, but what a pile of coin I would have saved!

Curious Larry......

PS: I use the chisels that I bought from you all the time, Thanks again.

Zach England
07-09-2011, 12:17 AM
OK Zach, I just have to ask.

All day long the fact that you have never driven crossed my mind. You said you can walk with groceries, so I assume there is no problem with motor skills, so what made you decide to never drive?

As I was wondering I also thought back to the hundreds of thousands of dollars that I have spent on cars, a bit of a weakness of mine, and so may have answered my own question. Not really a possibility where I live and work, but what a pile of coin I would have saved!

Curious Larry......

PS: I use the chisels that I bought from you all the time, Thanks again.

it is a decision that was made for me by my genetics. I am visually impaired. I have quite abit of usable vision, but my distance acuity is low and I am extremely light sensitive.

Jerome Hanby
07-09-2011, 1:13 AM
It like I kept repeating over and over to my oldest Daughter when I was teaching her to drive, you can be 100% right and 100% dead at the same time. The laws of physics trump municipal ordinances every time.

Lee Schierer
07-09-2011, 10:05 AM
It like I kept repeating over and over to my oldest Daughter when I was teaching her to drive, you can be 100% right and 100% dead at the same time. The laws of physics trump municipal ordinances every time.

Also referred to as the rule of gross tonnage. The heavier thing always wins.

Jim Koepke
07-09-2011, 2:38 PM
I know that vehicles MUST ALWAYS YIELD to pedestrians, but I try hard to obey the rules and only cross streets legally because I feel it is a matter of courtesy since I also expect drivers and cyclists to obey the laws and be courteous to me.

This may not be true in all states. As others have stated, it may be the law, but people do not always play nice when they are behind the wheel.

This caused me to think about what one could do to improve their chances. It made me think about different accessories one could carry with them.

I imagine most drivers wouldn't want to upset a pedestrian in their path if the pedestrian was carrying an AK-47, a sledge hammer or an axe. Maybe make a light weight axe out of wood. Paint it to look like it has some fresh blood on the edge. You may get to meet all the members of your local constabulary.

In the movie weatherman, Nicolas Cage plays a weatherman. People unhappy with the weather forecasts often threw things at him. He took up archery and started carrying his bow and quiver of arrows with him. People quit bothering him.

As a side note, I used to be an all time cyclist. People driving in cars are unpredictable. Most of the drivers are fairly uniform. It is the small percentage of non-compliant, stripped wing nuts who make traffic dangerous.

jtk