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Insight from WFPD: Extend courtesy to pedestrians

A recent question posed by an outdoor enthusiast generated this week's topic on when a driver is required to yield to a pedestrian attempting to cross a roadway. A simple answer would be that drivers should extend the courtesy of stopping for all people attempting to cross the roadway. There are; however, specific instances where drivers must stop for a pedestrian.

When the intersection is controlled by a police officer directing traffic or there is a signal light in place all vehicles must stop to allow the pedestrian to safely cross the roadway. Drivers are required to stop as soon as the pedestrian has stepped from the sidewalk apron and entered the street. Use caution and be prepared to stop when approaching intersections where the pedestrian is on the sidewalk apron as they may step into the roadway at any time. This is particularly true for young children as they can be unpredictable. Attached is the ordinance relating to regulated crosswalks.


REGULATED. No vehicle shall cross a crosswalk where traffic is regulated by a police officer or a system of traffic control signals until pedestrians who have properly commenced to cross the street have completed their passage across in front of such vehicles, and any vehicle permitted to turn to either right or left shall yield the right-of-way to all pedestrians who are proceeding on crosswalks in a direction authorized by the officer or traffic signal, and failure to yield such right-of-way shall be a violation of this section.

Where there is no officer directing traffic or a signal light present drivers must again yield to pedestrians who have entered the roadway. As noted below, whether the intersection is regulated or not, a driver may not pass another vehicle which is stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway.



1. Where traffic control signals are not in place or in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to yield to a pedestrian crossing a roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.

2. No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.

3. Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake or pass such stopped vehicle.

Pedestrians are required to utilize available crosswalks. If a pedestrian elects to cross a roadway anywhere other than at a crosswalk the pedestrian must yield to all vehicles on the roadway.


1. Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the roadway.

It is the fear of every parent and certainly a concern for law enforcement that a child may be struck by a vehicle while attempting to cross the street. We all attempt to teach our children to be safe and look both ways. As a result children have a tendency to be over cautious and stand on the sidewalk apron waiting for an opening in traffic. Through their impatience or inability to judge a vehicle's speed they will often suddenly dart into the street. By recognizing the potential danger this poses a driver should be constantly alert when approaching an intersection.

There will be many opportunities for everyone to enjoy the outdoors as summer begins. Increased foot traffic as kids walk or bike to school or families spend time outdoors will bring additional risk of conflicts to occur between vehicle and pedestrian traffic. As a driver slow down, be alert and give a pedestrian a break.