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Shapiro & Appleton

Pedestrians and Crosswalk Laws in North Carolina

The streets and roadways in Nags Head, Currituck, Corolla, Kitty Hawk, etc. are more crowded than ever before. With that in mind, pedestrians face an increasing risk whenever they attempt to cross a street, which is quite common for tourists and residents who may be staying in a hotel or house within walking distance to the beach.

In North Carolina, the legislature enacted a myriad of laws to govern when and where a pedestrian may cross a roadway and whether the pedestrian or the vehicle is obligated to yield.

According to NC General Statute § 20-172, pedestrians at a crosswalk or intersection with special pedestrian-control signals in place to cross only when those signals display a “WALK” signal and not to cross when those signals display a “DON’T WALK” signal. If a pedestrian is at an intersection without special pedestrian-control signals, the pedestrian is subject to the vehicular traffic-control signals.

According to NC General Statute § 20-173, where traffic control signals are not in place or in operation, a driver MUST yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at or near an intersection. This means that pedestrians have the right of way when crossing in a crosswalk in the middle of a stretch of road or near an intersection where there are no stoplights. Many drivers fail to be on the lookout for pedestrians crossing, even in marked crosswalks, such that the state often has to erect signs next to or within the crosswalks informing drivers that they must yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

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North Carolina law does not specifically prohibit a pedestrian from crossing of a roadway outside of a crosswalk or intersection. However, North Carolina General Statute § 20-174(a) states that every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection must yield the right-of-way to an oncoming motorist.

The takeaway from this discussion is that both drivers and pedestrians need to know the rules of the road. A driver may feel powerful and superior in his steel cage, but under certain circumstances he or she will need to slow his roll just a tad in order to let pedestrians cross. Speeding through an intersection or crosswalk is not worth the risk imposed to innocent bystanders.

Holding a Negligent Motorist Accountable When They Collide with a Pedestrian

If you or a family member was seriously hurt after getting hit by a motorist while crossing the street, take the time to schedule a free consultation with a pedestrian accident lawyer in Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, or anywhere else in North Carolina. You may be eligible to recover the following types of harms and losses:

  • Medical expenses (including prescription medications, surgeries, physical therapy, etc.)
  • Emotional suffering and mental anguish
  • Lost income
  • Any permanent impairments and future medical expenses

Contact Shapiro & Appleton Right Away

Our team of experienced pedestrian accident attorneys in Kitty Hawk are here to help you and your family. Below are three reasons why you should contact our firm today to schedule a free, confidential case review:

  1. The lawyers at Shapiro & Appleton possess decades of combined legal experience
  2. The firm is recognized as a "Best Law Firm" by U.S. News & World Report (since '10) for personal injury litigation.
  3. Attorneys at the firm are recognized as “AV Preeminent” Lawyers by Martindale-Hubbell
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