Pedestrians don’t always have the right of way in Pennsylvania. But when crossing at a marked or unmarked crosswalk in the state, they most certainly do. Here’s what you need to know about what the law says about pedestrians and unmarked crosswalks, and what an unmarked crosswalk is.
Pennsylvania’s Pedestrian Law
According to Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 75, Section 3542, “the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing at the roadway within a marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.” If a driver does not yield to a pedestrian in an unmarked or marked crosswalk and causes an accident, the driver will most likely be held liable for damages.
What’s an unmarked crosswalk?
Pennsylvania Vehicle Code Title 75, Section 102 provides a definition of an unmarked crosswalk:
That part of a roadway at an intersection included within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway, measured from the curbs or, in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the traversable roadway; and, in the absence of a sidewalk on one side of the roadway, that part of a roadway included within the extension of the lateral lines of the existing sidewalk.
In other words, imagine a continuation of the existing sidewalk or shoulder across the road. The unmarked crosswalk begins and ends at the curb or edge of the roadway on each side of the road.
When should driver’s yield to pedestrians?
Based on the two definitions provided above, it could be inferred that an unmarked crosswalk is any area of intersection that forms a straight line on one side of the road to the other, and therefore drivers should yield to pedestrians at all intersections.
However, if you’re acting as a pedestrian, you shouldn’t count on drivers stopping at an unmarked crosswalk, even if you believe that you have the right-of-way. Without traffic control signals to remind drivers to slow for you, crossing at an unmarked intersection could be dangerous. Not to mention jaywalking in Pennsylvania, which yields even higher incidences of injuries to pedestrians.
Who’s liable for a pedestrian accident?
In the event that a pedestrian accident occurs in an unmarked crosswalk, who will be held responsible for the crash will depend on a number of factors, including: who was acting negligently, and whether the crosswalk was an unmarked crosswalk or not. If a car has hit you while you were crossing in an unmarked crosswalk, an attorney can help you to prove that you had the right-of-way.