Driving around pedestrians

What is a crosswalk?
A crosswalk is the elongation of a sidewalk through a road.  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

When 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. Vehicles 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)

How long should a driver remain stopped for a pedestrian in the crosswalk?
Until the pedestrian passes the lane adjacent to the vehicle’s travel.  If a vehicle is turning, it must remain stopped until pedestrian passes adjacent lane or be at least 6 ft from the lane into which the vehicle is turning.  ORS 811.028

What must a driver do if a pedestrian crosses during a “Don’t Walk” sign?
Vehicles must always yield to pedestrians in any crosswalk.  Even if there’s a “Don’t Walk” sign, vehicles 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 vehicle 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

What are the rules for stopping in sidewalks or crosswalks?
It’s illegal to stop or park a vehicles in sidewalks, in crosswalks. or within 20 feet of crosswalks 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 maintenance work.
– A vehicle may stop or park within 20 feet of a crosswalk (but still not in the actual croswalk) when momentarily discharging or picking up passengers.
ORS 811.550(4,6,17), 811.560(2,4-7), 801.510(2),

How should drivers yield at sidewalks?
Always yield to pedestrians in sidewalks before turning into a driveway, parking lot, or alley.

When emerging from a driveway or parking lot, come to a complete stop before entering the sidewalk.  Wait until it’s clear before moving forward.  If necessary, a vehicle 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.  ORS 811.505, 811.025, 811.550(4)

What’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 vehicle sees a blind pedestrian about to cross a road, the vehicle must remain stopped until the blind pedestrian completely crosses the road.  ORS 811.035, 814.110

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

If 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

What are the laws regarding jaywalking? 
Pedestrians may cross the road anywhere, after yielding to vehicles.  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 (as of the time of publication).  ORS 814.040,

If 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