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What does the law require of motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists to help ensure safety on the roads?

Driver Laws

  1. Drivers are required to yield to pedestrians at marked crossings and unmarked crosswalks at intersections except where there is a traffic or pedestrian signal. (§20-155)
  2. Drivers must stop for pedestrians and bicyclists at stop signs and flashing red lights and must yield for pedestrians at flashing yellow lights. (§20-158)
  3. Drivers making right or left turns must allow pedestrians and bicyclists to cross first, unless pedestrians are prohibited from crossing. (§20-173) Pedestrians or bicyclists on sidewalks have the right of way, so drivers must let them pass before turning into or out of driveways and parking lots. (§20-173)
  4. State law prohibits drivers from passing vehicles stopped for pedestrians in crosswalks. (§20-173(b)
  5. It is incumbent upon drivers to make sure the road is clear of pedestrians before pulling forward or backing up. (§20-154)

Pedestrian Laws

  1. Pedestrians have the right of way at marked crossings, meaning cars must yield to pedestrians. (§20-155 and §20-173)
  2. State law requires pedestrians to use marked crosswalks when they are provided, and it is unlawful to cross a street outside a marked crosswalk if the pedestrian is between two signalized intersections. (§20-172)
  3. When NOT at an intersection or marked crosswalk, pedestrians must yield the right of way to all vehicles. (§20-174)
  4. At crosswalks with pedestrian signals, state law requires that pedestrians obey the “Walk” and “Don’t Walk” signs in the same way a driver must obey Red or Green lights. (§20-172)
  5. State law requires pedestrians walking along the road to use sidewalks when available. (§20-174)
  6. When sidewalks are not available, pedestrians are to walk to the far left edge of the road facing traffic. Walking in this direction gives pedestrians the best view of traffic. (§20-174)

Bicyclist Laws

  1. Bicyclists must ride on the right in the same direction of traffic and a far to the right as is safe and practicable. (§ 20-146)
  2. Bicyclists must obey all traffic signs and signals. (§ 20-158)
  3. Bicyclist must use hand signals to communicate intended movements, such as turns or stops. (§ 20-154)
  4. At night, Bicyclists are required to use a front lamp visible from 300 feet and a rear reflector that is visible from a distance of 200 feet. (§ 20-129)
  5. Bicyclists under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet on public roads, public paths and public rights-of way. (§ 20-179)
  6.  All child passengers under 40 pounds or 40 inches must be seated and secured in a child seat or bicycle trailer. (§ 20-179)
  7. Bicyclists being passed by a motor vehicle or another bicyclist should remain as far to the right as possible and not increase their speed while being overtaken. (§ 20-179)
  8. Bicyclists must yield the right-of-way before entering or crossing any main-traveled or through highway if the roadway they are on is posted with a "yield right-of-way" sign. (§ 20-158)

Pedestrian Safety Tips

  1. Look for cars and bicyclists in all directions—including those turning left or right—before crossing the street; never assume a driver will stop.
  2. Be careful crossing multiple lanes of traffic. Make sure each lane of traffic is clear before you cross.
  3. Enhance your visibility at night. Walk in well-lit areas, carry a flashlight, or wear something reflective, such as stickers or armbands, to be more visible.
  4. Avoid distraction. More and more we see people texting or talking on cell phones when crossing streets; this diminishes the ability of your two key senses—hearing and seeing—that are used to detect and avoid cars. So particularly when crossing streets, put down the phone for a few seconds.
  5. Be predictable to drivers and follow the rules of the road—obey signs and signals.
  6. Obey all pedestrian traffic signals.
  7. Watch for cars backing up in parking lots; brake lights can mean that a car is about to back up.
  8. Cross the street where you have the best view of traffic. At bus stops, cross behind the bus or at the nearest crosswalk.
  9. Always walk on the sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from the roadway as you can.

For more pedestrian safety tips, visit the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center: http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/community/tips_pedestrian.cfm.

Bicyclist Safety Tips

  1. Wear a helmet. It could save your life. However, helmets are not infallible. Do not be fooled into a false sense of security. Riding as safely as possible is still very important.
  2. Use a light and reflectors when bicycling at night, and be as visible as possible.
  3. Ride in the direction of traffic. Drivers may not be looking for you if you are riding the wrong way.
  4. Obey all signs and signals. This includes stopping at stop signs and red lights.
  5. Use all of your senses – watch and listen for cars, particularly at intersections and drive ways.
  6. Avoid distractions such as listening to headphones or answering phones when riding.

For more bicyclist safety tips, visit the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center: http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/community/tips_bicyclist.cfm.

Motorist Safety Tips

  1. Safety is a shared responsibility—motorists need to be watchful for pedestrians and bicyclists, drive at slower speeds, avoid distraction, and know the laws regarding when pedestrians have the right-of-way.
  2. Be prepared to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
  3. Never pass a vehicle that is stopped for pedestrians.
  4. Before making a turn, be sure the path is clear of any pedestrians or bicyclists.
  5. Slow down in areas where you are likely to find pedestrians, such as near bus stops, schools, and playgrounds.
  6. Look carefully behind your vehicle for approaching pedestrians before backing-up.
  7. Keep an eye out for pedestrians at night that may be walking near or across the road.
  8. Avoid distractions such as food, passengers, and using mobile devices. Talking and texting while driving is both dangerous and illegal in many places.
  9. Be prepared for bicyclists to use the entire lane. Bicyclists are entitled to the entire lane if needed.
  10. Give bicyclists a wide berth when passing, and only pass when it is safe to do so.

For more motorist safety tips, visit the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center: http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/community/tips_driver.cfm.

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