When it comes to Cars versus Pedestrians, the odds are similar to Godzilla versus Tiny Human: Like Godzilla, the car’s going to eat the pedestrian’s lunch — and the pedestrian. But who has the right-of-way? Who must stop for whom, and who’s at fault if they don’t? Stop asking yourself, when do I need to stop for pedestrians? Here’s a breakdown that could help keep your life from turning into a horror movie.
Driver Responsibilities and Penalties
1) Failure to stop for pedestrian in crosswalk – This one you’re probably familiar with. If someone’s walking in a crosswalk, even if you think you can get through the intersection faster than they can, you have to stop and let them cross. Don’t be that jerk who says “I can beat you, Granny!” It could cost you $90 to $500 and a point against your driver’s license.
2) Passing a vehicle stopped for a pedestrian – Something you may not have given as much thought to, but it makes sense. If a car in front of you is yielding to a pedestrian, you can’t pass that vehicle to go around. This applies to both marked crosswalks and unmarked crosswalks at intersections. The penalty is $80 up to $500 and one point.
3) Failure to yield right-of-way to any pedestrian lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk when turning – Whether you’re turning right on red, or you have a green light and are turning either direction, any pedestrian who’s in the crosswalk is the boss of you; don’t even think about trying to pull rank. If you do, it’s $90 to $500 and a point against your driver’s license.
4) Failure to stop at clearly marked stop line or crosswalk – This one’s even more expensive. The government spent good taxpayer money painting that stop line on the road, and you will stop behind it and not over it, or face the bite of their many sharp teeth to the tune of $140 to $500 and two points on your driving record.
5) Failure to exercise due care to avoid hitting a pedestrian – You would think this self-explanatory violation would be the most expensive of all. You’d be wrong. Failing to exercise due care to avoid hitting a pedestrian — which implies that you did hit a pedestrian — carries as little as half the penalty of failing to stop on that painted line they’re so proud of: $70 to $500 and one point. But it won’t end up being cheaper when the guy you ran over sues you for negligence.
Pedestrian Responsibilities and Penalties
1) Failure to obey a traffic or pedestrian control signal – Yes, pedestrians have to stop at red lights, just like cars. And you’re not allowed to cross against a “don’t walk” or “upraised hand” signal, no matter how many times you’ve gotten away with it. You can be ticketed $40 to $500. Talk to the hand (but don’t walk).
2) Failure to yield right-of-way to vehicle – Contrary to what you may have heard, pedestrians do not always have the right-of-way. If a pedestrian crosses a roadway at any point other than in a marked crosswalk or in an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, the pedestrian must yield the right-of-way to any vehicle. Penalty: $40 up to $500.
3) Failure to cross at signalized intersection – If the government went to all the trouble to put a crosswalk at some point in between intersections so you wouldn’t have to walk down to the corner, don’t be an ingrate — use it. Such ingratitude could cost you $40 to $500.
4) Crossing intersection diagonally – Unless Godzilla is hot on your heels—or there’s a traffic signal indicating you can do so—crossing the street at a diagonal is a no-no. And when you get that $40 to $500 ticket and claim Godzilla as your defense? Photos or it didn’t happen.
5) Pedestrian unlawfully on roadway – If they built you a sidewalk, use it. If they didn’t, walk on the left, facing traffic, just like they taught you in school. If you can’t tell left from right, ask your mommy, or you’ll be asking her for $40 to $500 to pay the ticket.
Remember, though, when it comes to cars and pedestrians you should always do what it takes to keep everyone alive, regardless of who has the right-of-way. That way, the only horror movie you’ll be watching comes with popcorn.