Pedestrians have the right of way in California.Crosswalks are painted in roadways to make sure walkers can cross safely but they simply don’t work unless people follow the rules. In fact, one in six traffic fatalities involves a pedestrian. But do you know there are also unmarked crosswalks?
If you’re on foot or using a wheelchair, cross the street only at corners or inside marked crosswalks. Look around for any approaching vehicles and make eye contact with drivers to make sure they see you. If available, push the button and wait for a green signal; do not step off the curb if the signal is already flashing or solid red – you won’t have time to make it.
Even though it is legal for pedestrians to cross at unmarked crosswalks – intersections where there are no painted crosswalks – it may be safer to walk a block or two to the nearest painted crosswalk, especially on streets with heavy traffic.
If you’re driving, always stop for pedestrians crossing at intersections, whether or not there is a painted crosswalk. Allow extra time for older pedestrians, people with disabilities and parents with strollers or young children. Always be especially careful when turning a corner at a red light: is someone preparing to cross in the other direction?
Never, ever pass another vehicle that has stopped at a crosswalk – a pedestrian you can’t see may be crossing! – and never come to a stop in the middle of a crosswalk, forcing pedestrians to walk out into traffic to get around you.
If you drive an electric or hybrid car, remember that walkers may not hear you coming! Leave a safe distance and use extra caution.
For the California Vehicle Code chapter related to pedestrian rights and duties, visit www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/vc/vctoc.htm and go to Division 11, Chapter 5. For more information call the Pasadena Police Department at 744-4590.