Myths vs. Reality
Pedestrians & Right of Ways
MYTH: Pedestrians always have the right of way.
REALITY: No, not always. Legally, pedestrians have the right-of way within a crosswalk; but the law also states that “no pedestrian shall unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while in a marked or unmarked crosswalk.”
Pedestrians are also expected to exercise “due care” for their own safety, and are NOT permitted to suddenly obstruct the path of a moving vehicle that is close enough to be a hazard.
Remember, if you’re on a bike, you are a vehicle subject to the rules of the road, not a pedestrian. Special laws apply to skateboards, in addition to the pedestrian laws.
MYTH: You are safe in a crosswalk.
REALITY: Painted lines do not protect you from harm, even if you have the legal right of way. This is particularly important at crosswalks where there is no traffic signal or stop sign.
The bigger the road, the more your safety depends on your own judgment about when it is actually safe to cross.
Green Means Go
MYTH: A green light or walk signal means “Go.”
REALITY: A green light or walk signal indicates that it is your turn to cross, but first make sure that the intersection is clear and watch for red light runners! Also make sure that any right-turning cars will yield to you.
If You See Them, They See You
MYTH: If you see the driver, the driver sees you.
REALITY: The driver may not see you in time to stop, particularly if you’re coming from the RIGHT and he/she is looking LEFT for oncoming cars. This is particularly true for cyclist and skaters, who are moving faster than pedestrians.
To be safe, make eye contact with any driver whose path will cross yours, and proceed only when certain the car will stop. On multi-lane roads, do not start across until vehicles in all lanes have stopped. If there is a median, make separate decisions about crossing each direction of traffic.