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Look Both Ways When Crossing the Street

If you're someone who enjoys walking around the city, your local neighborhood, or maybe you walk to get to school or your job, it's essential for you to understand the laws of pedestrians in Virginia (VA).

In fact, a Mean Street study revealed that, on a per-mile basis, walking is more dangerous than driving, flying, or riding a bus or train. Most fatalities (69 percent) occur on neighborhood streets.

The applicable Virginia (VA) pedestrian law state...

§ 46.2-924. Drivers to stop for pedestrians
"The driver of any vehicle on a highway shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian crossing such highway at any clearly marked crosswalk, whether at mid-block or at the end of any block; at any regular pedestrian crossing included in the prolongation of the lateral boundary lines of
the adjacent sidewalk at the end of a block; and at any intersection when the driver is approaching on a highway or street where the legal maximum speed does not exceed 35 miles per hour... No pedestrian shall enter or cross an intersection in disregard of approaching traffic.
The drivers of vehicles entering, crossing, or turning at intersections shall change their course,
slow down, or stop if necessary to permit pedestrians to cross such intersections safely and
expeditiously. Pedestrians crossing highways at intersections shall at all times have the right-of-way over vehicles making turns into the highways being crossed by the pedestrians."


The language in this law sounds as if pedestrians almost have free reign when it comes to crossing streets. Of course, we know that's not the case. Here's another important law...


§ 46.2-926. Pedestrians stepping into highway where they cannot be seen.
No pedestrian shall step into a highway open to moving vehicular traffic at any point between
intersections where his presence would be obscured from the vision of drivers of approaching
vehicles by a vehicle or other obstruction at the curb or side. The foregoing prohibition shall not
apply to a pedestrian stepping into a highway to board a bus or to enter a safety zone, in which
event he shall cross the highway only at right angles.

So what do these laws mean to you? Simple - when crossing a street, make sure you're at a properly marked cross walk and are capable of being seen by on-coming traffic. Do not just run out and begin crossing the street. This is common sense, but far too many people get seriously injured or killed by ignoring this simple principle.

Check articles related to accidents involving cars and either pedestrians or bicycles:

If you're walking with your children to or from school, be sure to inform them of these laws and illustrate how to properly cross the street. Any one getting hurt in a cross walk accident is bad, but it's even worse when a young child gets hurt or killed.  

The changing of the seasons is inevitable, but an increase in pedestrian cross walk accidents doesn't have to be. With responsibility and common sense, you can avoid these terrible accidents and enjoy the beautiful fall weather safely.

 

Rick N. Shapiro
Recognized as a Virginia Super Lawyer in Law & Politics Magazine (since '10)
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