On a per mile basis, pedestrians walking is more dangerous than driving, flying, or riding a bus or train. Do Virginia (VA) or Carolina pedestrians always have the right-of-way over car or truck drivers? The key part of this question is the word "always." Read on…
Several applicable Virginia (VA) pedestrian statutes, which are fairly typical of state pedestrian laws, 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."
§ 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.
One main point of these statutes is to make sure you’re at a properly marked cross walk and can be seen by on-coming traffic.
Be sure to explain to any of your children how to properly cross the street. Actually go to a street corner and teach them proper techniques because kids just will not understand until you actually show them and talk to them when you are walking around a busy intersection.
Our law firm receives numerous calls in the course of a year from pedestrians injured while crossing Virginia (VA) roads and highways and you would be surprised at how many cases we must decline after checking Virginia pedestrian laws, because the pedestrian was not at a marked crosswalk or was not crossing near the corner as required by Virginia laws. Of course, we do accept many cases where the car or truck driver clearly violated their duty, causing the pedestrian injury or wrongful death in question. So if you hear the old adage that the pedestrian always has the right of way, remember that it is not always true.
About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers.