Walk This Way: Pedestrian Safety in Virginia

Just as there are laws governing how cars behave on the road, there are laws regarding pedestrians and how they interact with the roadway. Many pedestrian laws are simply common sense, but some specific safety guidelines may be a little less obvious.

Pedestrian regulations apply to the use of sidewalks and crosswalks as well as the road way itself. Pedestrians always have the right of way on sidewalks and crosswalks, and the law requires pedestrians to utilize them if they are available. In the absence of a sidewalk, pedestrians are to stay to the left and face oncoming traffic rather than allow cars to approach behind them.  

Crosswalks can be tricky for both drivers and pedestrians. Many people don’t know that any place where a road and a sidewalk intersect is considered a crosswalk, even if it has not been marked on the roadway.  This can cause confusion between a driver and a pedestrian as to who has the right of way; a very dangerous situation.

The law prevents pedestrians from placing themselves in dangerous situations where they cannot be seen by drivers.  They cannot enter the highway or any other road in such a way that they cannot be seen by approaching cars, cross without a crosswalk where one is reasonably available, or move into the roadway for the purpose of soliciting transportation.

At the end of the day the most important thing for both drivers and pedestrians is predictability. You want the other party to have a good idea what you’re going to do before you do it. Surprises and unforeseen situations lead to injury and death on the road.


About the Author: Kathleen is a Fredericksburg personal injury attorney. She handles all types of personal injury cases including car accidents and pedestrian accidents in Fredericksburg, Garrisonville and the surrounding areas.

To learn more about pedestrian safety, please visit the Allen and Allen website

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Kathleen Smith

Licensed since 2003

Member at firm Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen

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