Pedestrian right of way?

Barbara of Grand Haven asked, “Do pedestrians still have the right of way at intersections? Several times, while crossing with the walk signal at Washington and Beacon, I have had cars almost hit me. Even though they have gotten the green light to turn, I always thought the pedestrian goes first.”
Mark Brooky
Aug 6, 2014



Yes, they do, Barbara, in certain circumstances.

Grand Haven Public Safety Director Jeff Hawke said they certainly do at intersections with pedestrian traffic signals.

“According to the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code, traffic shall yield to a pedestrian that is proceeding through a crosswalk on the ‘walk’ signal,” he said.

Hawke provided the appropriate state code:

Section 257.613

(2) If special pedestrian control signals are installed, they shall be placed at the far end of each crosswalk and shall indicate a “walk” or “don't walk” interval. These special signals shall apply to pedestrians only to the exclusion of a regular traffic control signal or signals which may be present at the same location, as follows:
(a) Walk interval — Pedestrians facing the signal may proceed across the highway in the direction of the signal and shall be given the right of way by the drivers of all vehicles.
(b) Don't walk (steady burning or flashing) interval — A pedestrian shall not start to cross the highway in the direction of the signals, but a pedestrian who has partially completed crossing on the walk interval of the signal shall proceed to a sidewalk or safety island while the don't walk interval of the signal is showing.
(3) A person who violates this section is responsible for a civil infraction.

For intersections without traffic signals:

“Generally, if the pedestrian is in the crosswalk in advance of the vehicle, the driver should yield,” Hawke said. “The pedestrian should not leave the curb if traffic is present and should wait for traffic to clear.”

Here are the specifics from an excerpt of the Michigan Uniform Traffic Code for Cities and Villages:

R 28.1702 Rule 702. Pedestrians; right-of-way in crosswalk; violation as civil infraction.

(1) When traffic-control signals are not in place or are not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right -of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is on the half of the roadway on which the vehicle is traveling or
when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger, but a pedestrian shall not suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into a path of a vehicle that is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.
(2) A person who violates this rule is responsible for a civil infraction.

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However with all of the distractive driving, a pedestrian should be ever vigilant and not assume they will be given the right of way. Better safe than sorry.


ya, i thought was weird to, the traffic going west and east get,s the green light, at the same time the pedestrian,s can also go in the same direction with the signal,s, but the car,s turning have to wait for people to cross, sure the pedestrian,s would have the right away, by common sense, same thing happen,s at Washington and Harbor, i might have the green light to proceed thru, but have wait for people crossing Harbor

Truth Be Told

Dint mother teach you to look both ways before crossing the street?
ts not about "rights" its about physics, spandex is no match for a chevy

deuce liti

It's the similar mentality when people walk out of the grocery store and don't even look to see if drivers will yield.

You have the right to pay attention and not get injured or killed.


The good new is: Its illegal to run you over more than once, pedestians even when they are in the wrong have the right of way.


Pedestrians do have the right of way. But in this town, some pedestrians don't pay any attention to the traffic. They think that they can simply step of the curb at any time and expect cars to stop. Not a very wise thing to do. Especially when a vehicle was already in the process of making a turn before a person had even reached the cross walk. Sometimes it's about common sense. Not who has the ultimate right of way.


Good bad or indifferent. It don't matter about lawsuits. Car still out weighs a human and can crush. Hospital stay is painful. Always be careful and make sure the Donkey behind the wheel is paying attention. Aint worth the injuries to be cocky to make point, the laws of physics don't care. They only one who will win any worthwhile monies is the lawyers not the run over pedestrian.


I ride my bike all the time to Meijer. You have to watch the right hand turn lanes from ALL directions. Most drivers I have noticed do not even slow down and definitely do not stop for bikers or pedestrians.


Your rights and $2 will get you a cup of coffee when you walk in front of a car. Common sense, folks. Remember that?


Its a game of chicken at the crosswalks, guess who wins?


Its the same on a motorcycle, expect idiots to do idiotic things that will hurt or kill you. its no different than thinking a PPO will protect you, sure you have the right of way but like poster's mentioned you VS 3500 lb. vehicle? I'm afraid all the laws in the world will not trump the laws of physics.


Watch it, they get ya, be careful !!!


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