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Pedestrian Safety Laws

July 20, 2018 1:09 PM

The definition of "yielding to a pedestrian": The driver of a vehicle is required to reduce speed, or stop if necessary, to avoid endangering, colliding with or interfering in any way with pedestrian travel.
  • Failure To Yield To Pedestrian/Bicyclist 346.24(1): Operators of vehicles shall yield to pedestrian/bicyclist within the crosswalk (marked or unmarked) Penalty: $250.00
  • Sudden Pedestrian/Bicyclist Movement 346.24(2): No pedestrian/bicyclist shallsuddenly leave curb into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is difficult for the operator of the vehicle to yield. Penalty: $86.20
Note: Bicyclists have the same rights as pedestrians if they are acting similar to a pedestrian, traveling at a speed similar to a pedestrian speed and are using the same care as would be expected by a pedestrian.
One way to simplify the intent of these laws is to consider the pedestrian near the curb in the crosswalk as a yellow signal. As a motorist approaching the pedestrian you must think can I stop in time or am I too close to stop safely. If you can count to 3 before passing the pedestrian you should be yielding. Most yellow signals are 3 to 4 seconds long.
As the pedestrian you are responsible to step to the curb to cross the street only when you intend to cross. Many times motorists see pedestrians and slow down, only to be waved on. It is the responsibility of the motorist to yield to the pedestrian if the pedestrian is within the crosswalk, marked or unmarked.
It is also the pedestrian's responsibility to make sure the motorist has the time to slow and yield before stepping into the traffic lane. The three second suggestion for motorists can apply to the pedestrian, only for safety purposes use 4 or more seconds. So if the vehicle approaching is 4 or more seconds away from you, you can expect that motorist should yield to you.

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