Crosswalk Law Basics

Most people know that cars are big, fast, and strong — at least in comparison to small, slow, and weak pedestrians. Because of that, it seems intuitive that a car would stop for a pedestrian in the crosswalk, as the ramifications otherwise would be severe. However, drivers often argue that a pedestrian shouldn’t have been crossing in an unmarked section of road. What those drivers don’t know is that in Washington all intersections have an implied crosswalk where pedestrians always have the right of way.

There are multiple types of crosswalks. First, marked crosswalks outside of intersections are called uncontrolled crossings. The markings are key for the pedestrian to know she is following the law and for the driver to be alert for the pedestrian. Second, the unmarked intersection crosswalk at a one-, two-, three-, or four-way stop is more complicated. Because the driver doesn’t see the tell-tale white lines, he could be unaware of the possibility of a pedestrian crossing, even though the pedestrian would be fully within the law to cross at this intersection —even across the lanes without a stop sign.  Finally, intersections with stoplights have a few more rules, most notably the situations when a driver must wait outside the crosswalk when pedestrians are crossing the street. In Washington, drivers are required to stay out of the cross walk until the pedestrian is at least one lane away from the drivers’ half of the roadway. This does not mean until the pedestrian is one lane away—the pedestrian must have cleared or not yet entered the driver’s half of the roadway by at least one extra lane.

If you’ve been injured in a crosswalk, whether unmarked or marked, make sure you understand the laws that apply to your situation. Contact an experienced Everett personal injury lawyer like David Duce to discuss your case.