Are you someone often walking or driving in busy traffic areas, with lots of intersections and crosswalks? Or a pedestrian hit by a car in a crosswalk recently? Or maybe you were the driver in the scenario.
Crosswalk laws can often be confusing in this area, particularly when faced with out-of-state pedestrians and drivers, not aware of the local rules. And maybe counter-intuitively, drivers are not always at fault in crosswalk accidents.
So here are a few really important things to know about Oregon pedestrian crosswalk laws.
What are Crosswalks?
There are 2 types of crosswalks – marked and unmarked.
Marked crosswalks are marked with white lines. Unmarked crosswalks are at intersections that do not have marked crosswalks. ORS 801.220.
What are the Oregon Pedestrian Crosswalk Laws?
We frequently get asked when the driver has to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk in Oregon. And when the pedestrian has the right of way.
Here is a comprehensive list, highlighting the most important laws around crosswalks, pedestrian and drivers:
- Drivers must stop for pedestrians in crosswalks when the pedestrians are crossing properly.
- Whether a pedestrian is crossing properly depends on if there is a traffic light or pedestrian crossing signal at the intersection.
- Regardless whether there is a traffic light or pedestrian crossing signal, a pedestrian may not step off the sidewalk if a vehicle is so close as to pose an immediate hazard.
- If there is a traffic light at the intersection, a pedestrian may cross when facing a green light or green arrow but cannot cross when facing a yellow or red light.
- If there is a pedestrian crossing signal, a pedestrian may cross only with a “walk” signal, but not with a “don’t walk” or “wait” signal.
- But again, a pedestrian cannot step off the curb even if the pedestrian has a green light or walk signal if a vehicle is so close as to pose an immediate hazard.
So before you step off the curb – regardless whether you have a green light or walk signal – make sure no car is approaching. If there is a car nearby, you must ensure the driver sees you before you step off the curb – even if they are slowing or stopped.
Crosswalk Laws on Trial
I have won two accident trials where my client hit a pedestrian in a crosswalk:
- The first involved a marked crosswalk in downtown Sisters, OR. The pedestrian rode his bicycle up a side street, and hopped off it – behind a parked car where my client could not see him. He then stepped off the curb without stopping, just after my client had looked for pedestrians in that direction.
- The 2nd accident involved an unmarked crosswalk on SE 3rd Street in Bend, near the Stars Cabaret. It was dark, and my client could not see the pedestrian. The pedestrian however saw my client’s car coming, and stepped off the curb anyway.
These types of accidents are completely avoidable – but unfortunately, they are all too common.
If you have been involved in a crosswalk accident – whether you were the pedestrian hit by a car in a crosswalk, or the driver – you might need legal representation.