Who’s got the right-of-way? Five rules to remember.

The majority of pedestrian and bicycle accident fatalities in PA occur at intersections and crosswalks. So here are five important rules to remember whether you’re driving, walking or riding.

  1. At painted crosswalks, pedestrians and dismounted bicyclists ALWAYS have the right-of-way (except at traffic-controlled signals – see #5 below.) Drivers need to be aware and yield.
  2. Bicyclists that do not dismount NEVER have the right-of-way. It would be safer to dismount and walk – especially at painted crosswalks.
  3. Where a trail crosses a road mid-block (not at an intersection) and there is no painted crosswalk, vehicles have the right-of-way. Pedestrians should yield where there is no painted crosswalk.
  4. At stop signed intersections without a traffic signal, drivers should ALWAYS yield to pedestrians – whether the crosswalk is marked or not.
  5. At signalized intersections, right-of-way is dictated by the signals. Even if there’s a painted crosswalk at a signalized intersection, pedestrians should follow the signals.

Keep these rules in mind and especially teach them to your children. Also, use common sense…even if you have the right-of-way, be wary of vehicles or pedestrians that aren’t following these rules and yield anyway if it means avoiding an accident. Walking, jogging and bicycling activity seem to be on the rise but thankfully pedestrian and bicycle accidents have held relatively steady over the past five years. Let’s keep it that way…

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One thought on “Who’s got the right-of-way? Five rules to remember.

  1. Ben Craddock
    Ben Craddock on

    Something else to remember…the vehicle code says that vehicles need to yield to pedestrians “within” a crosswalk. If someone is just standing on the curb, technically the vehicle doesn’t need to yield.

    But take that first step off the curb with care…the code prohibits pedestrians from suddenly leaving the curb and creating a hazard with an oncoming vehicle.

    Again, know the rules, but please be careful even if you have the right-of-way.

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