Driving around pedestrians

What is a crosswalk?
When should a driver stop for a pedestrian at a crosswalk?
How long should a driver remain stopped for a pedestrian in the crosswalk?
What are the rules regarding crosswalks with flashing lights?
What must a driver do if a pedestrian crosses during a “Don’t Walk” sign?
What are the rules for stopping in sidewalks or crosswalks?
How should drivers yield at sidewalks?
What’s the law regarding blind pedestrians?
Can pedestrians use the shoulder?
If there’s no useable sidewalk or shoulder, can a pedestrian walk on the road?
What are the laws regarding jaywalking?
If a sidewalk is on private property, can the owner ban bicycles and skates?
Are pedestrians allowed in the bike lane?

backlinks_iconWhat is a crosswalk?
A crosswalk is the elongation of a sidewalk through a road at an intersection.  If no sidewalk exists, it’s the elongation of where a sidewalk would be.  Alternatively, It can be considered the intersection between sidewalk and road.

A crosswalk may be “marked”, meaning it has white painted stripes on the street.  This is to highlight it for greater visibility, or to create an alternate crosswalk from the one created by normal street geometry.  However, the majority of crosswalks are unmarked.  Unmarked and marked crosswalks are legally identical, and bestow the same rights to the pedestrians inside them.

The photo below shows 3 unmarked crosswalks.  The North-South crosswalk is easy to recognize, as it’s the familiar geometry.  The other two are crosswalks because they are elongations of existing sidewalks to where a sidewalk would be.

crosswalksEVERY CORNER IS A CROSSWALK.  Walking advocacy groups focus heavily on this phrase in their education outreach.

The definition of a crosswalk is often poorly understood, which leads to knowledgeable pedestrians trying to cross in an unmarked crosswalk, and drivers not understanding their responsibility to yield.  Please re-read this section, and apply this to your driving behavior.  ORS 801.220

backlinks_iconWhen should a driver stop for a pedestrian at a crosswalk?
Pedestrians invoke their right to cross when any part or extension of the pedestrian (body, cane, wheelchair, or bicycle) enters the crosswalk.  In other words, put a tiny part of yourself off the curb to signal your intentions to drivers.  Drivers must stop if they are able.  Pedestrians must not step off the curb if a vehicle is so close that it creates an immediate hazard.  ORS 811.028(4), 814.040(1)(a)

backlinks_iconHow long should a driver remain stopped for a pedestrian in the crosswalk?
Until the pedestrian passes the driver’s lane (or lane they intend to turn into) plus one further lane.  A bike lane counts as the “one further lane”.  ORS 811.028

backlinks_iconWhat are the rules regarding crosswalks with flashing lights? 
There are no new laws to regulate this.  The applicable laws are those of a general crosswalk and that flashing yellow lights mean caution.  These flashing lights only serve to highlight the crosswalk, but don’t change the right-of-way laws in any way.  Pedestrians have no obligation to hit the button to trigger the lights (they can’t see when the lights come on anyway), and drivers can drive through the crosswalk once the pedestrian has passed their lane plus the next lane.  ORS 811.028, 811.260(12), explanation from a traffic lawyer

backlinks_iconWhat must a driver do if a pedestrian crosses during a “Don’t Walk” sign?
Drivers must always yield to pedestrians in any crosswalk.  Even if there’s a “Don’t Walk” sign, drivers must yield as if the pedestrian was legally crossing.  In the event of collision, the pedestrian can be cited for their failure to regard the sign, and the driver can be cited for their failure to yield to the pedestrian in a crosswalk.  ORS 811.028, Legal Guide for Persons on Foot p.20-21, 108

backlinks_iconWhen can drivers stop in crosswalks?
It’s illegal to stop or park in a crosswalk or within 20 feet of a crosswalk at intersections.

Exceptions:
– When complying with a traffic control device.  This allows a driver, when in front of a stop sign or red light, to stop within 20 feet of the crosswalk.  At stop signs, you may stop in the crosswalk as long as pedestrian traffic is not blocked.  At red lights, never stop in the crosswalk.
– Government vehicles doing road work.
– When requested by a police officer
– Drivers may stop or park within 20 feet of a crosswalk (but not in the actual croswalk) when momentarily discharging or picking up passengers.
ORS 811.550(6,17), 811.560(2,4-7), 801.510(2),

backlinks_iconHow should drivers yield at sidewalks?
Before exiting the road and driving through a sidewalk, look both ways and ensure it’s clear before continuing.

When entering the road from a driveway, parking lot, or alley, come to a complete stop before the sidewalk   Wait until it’s clear before moving forward.  If necessary, a driver may stop again on top of the sidewalk to see cross traffic before navigating an exit.  When this occurs, pedestrians on the sidewalk must yield.

Other than the above situation, it’s illegal to stop or park on sidewalks.  Exceptions:  when requested by a police officer or for government vehicles doing road work.
ORS 811.505, 811.025, 811.550(4), 811.560(4-7)

backlinks_iconWhat’s the law regarding blind pedestrians?
The ultimate right of way belongs to a blind pedestrian carrying a white cane or accompanied by a dog guide.  It doesn’t matter where he is on the roadway or if there’s any sign prohibiting walking.  If a driver sees a blind pedestrian about to cross a road, the driver must remain stopped until the blind pedestrian completely crosses the road.  ORS 811.035, 814.110

backlinks_iconCan pedestrians use the shoulder? 
Yes.  The law is clear they may use the shoulder, but does not say if pedestrians or drivers have the right of way.  ORS 801.608, 814.070, Legal Guide for Persons on Foot p.29

backlinks_iconIf there’s no useable sidewalk or shoulder, can a pedestrian walk on the road? 
Yes.  Walk facing traffic on the outside edge of the roadway.  ORS 814.070

backlinks_iconWhat are the laws regarding jaywalking? 
Pedestrians may cross the road anywhere, after yielding to drivers.  However, county or city laws can modify this right.  Corvallis has no modifications.  In Albany, pedestrians cannot cross outside crosswalks in blocks where marked crosswalks exist.  In Portland, pedestrians are prohibited from crossing the roadway within 150 feet of a crosswalk.  Click here for a complete list of local restrictions (at the time of publication).  ORS 814.040,

backlinks_iconIf a sidewalk is on private property, can the owner ban bicycles and skates?
Yes.  Private sidewalk owners can control their sidewalk like their other property, and create their own rules.  These types of sidewalks are found in strip malls, large parking lots, and on campuses.  ORS 801.045

backlinks_iconAre pedestrians allowed in the bike lane? 
Oregon statutes do not specify.  Lawyers recommend that if there’s a usable sidewalk or shoulder, bicyclists have right-of-way in bike lanes over the pedestrians.

However, concrete is harder on human knees than asphalt.  For this health reason, joggers and the elderly often prefer to walk/run on bike lanes.  Even though it’s not required, it’s simple for cyclists in bike lanes to stay behind joggers and elderly walkers,  and change lanes to pass.
Legal Guide for Persons on Foot p.33ORS 814.070(1a & 3)