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Scenario:

  • There is a controlled crosswalk.
  • The walking sign is on.

Rather than cross the street via the path, you cross adjacent to it OR you cross at an angle initially and enter the path.

If a car is driving through the crosswalk at this time, do you have right-of-way?

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  • Jurisdiction matters here, which country you're discussing?
    – Peteris
    Commented Mar 17, 2020 at 10:30
  • USA.This happened to me actually. I was crossing the street at an angle towards the crosswalk, so I wasn't on the crosswalk. The signal said walk, and a car drove through the crosswalk and bumped into me. Commented Mar 17, 2020 at 10:32
  • The regulation of road traffic is a matter of state law in the United States. In what state did this occur?
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 17, 2020 at 12:46
  • In Ohio, the crosswalk does not only include the area marked as such: codes.ohio.gov/orc/4511. Depending on where you actually walked, you may have been in the crosswalk all along.
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 17, 2020 at 23:20

2 Answers 2

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i was hit the other day when crossing. the walk signal was on, but i was crossing at an angle towards the crosswalk. the car bumped into me slowly so the driver would have seen me. was i wrong?

It will depend on the exact state law - but in New Jersey for example assuming you weren't actually on the crosswalk when you were hit you would be jaywalking and would be required to yield right-of-way to the vehicle (emphasis mine):

Always cross at corners, within marked crosswalks where available.

If crossing in other locations, yield the right of way to vehicles. Failure to obey the law carries a $54 fine (court costs additional; C.39:4-32, 33)

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    @Andy if the legislature wanted to exclude my interpretation, they could have added the words "in the absence of lines or other markings on the surface" to (LL)(1). But they didn't. And the US already has plenty of traffic signs and signals that mean different things in different contexts. Unmarked crosswalks are also inherently ambiguous, because most motorists will have no idea whatsoever where the extension of the property line into the roadway precisely is.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 4, 2020 at 16:56
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    @Andy that simply doesn't follow. In fact, by my interpretation, it would be incumbent on the authority marking a crosswalk to insure that the marking covers the entire legal crosswalk, and in fact the Ohio MUTCD does just that, starting on page 430. It also says "At non-intersection locations, crosswalk markings legally establish the crosswalk." This clearly implies that markings at an intersection do not legally establish the crosswalk. An improperly marked crosswalk could therefore be partially outside the markings.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 14:53
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    @Andy regarding your local example, your interpretation does not agree with the Ohio court of appeals. Here's a case in which someone crossed "in the unmarked crosswalk" despite the other three crossings at an intersection having marked crosswalks: sconet.state.oh.us/rod/docs/pdf/8/2010/2010-ohio-6360.pdf ("he opted to cross eight lanes of traffic in an unmarked crosswalk, despite three marked crosswalks with signals available for him to utilize"; emphasis added).
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 14:58
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    @Andy I haven't ignored them. The problem is that none of what you've written describes how courts actually interpret statutory texts. They might consider a "reasonable line of thinking" to resolve a conflict in an ambiguous or self-contradictory law, but the law here is neither. If there's no contradiction in the plain meaning of the law, courts do not infer additional conditions simply because they are "reasonable." You've also conveniently ignored the MUTCD's implication that the legal boundaries of a crosswalk at an intersection are independent of the markings.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 23:55
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    @Andy where you're going wrong is to assume that the presence of a marked crosswalk implies that there cannot also be an unmarked crosswalk. You tried to support that assumption with your "local example," but when I pointed out that your interpretation of that example is incorrect under Ohio law, you said that the example didn't apply to Ohio. Why then did you raise it? The plain meaning of LL(1) is that the entire area between projected property and curb lines is crosswalk. Putting a marking there under LL(2) could make the crosswalk bigger but not smaller.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 12, 2020 at 22:32
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Pedestrians always have right if way

Hit a pedestrian - go to jail. Unless it was impossible to avoid the collision such as a pedestrian suddenly stepping out within the car’s best stopping distance and assuming the driver was driving to the conditions (not doing 100 in a 50 zone).

The pedestrian can be booked but they still have right of way.

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  • i was hit the other day when crossing. the walk signal was on, but i was crossing at an angle towards the crosswalk. the car bumped into me slowly so the driver would have seen me. was i wrong? Commented Mar 17, 2020 at 10:26
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    I wouldn’t say they have the right of way - but you are not allowed to drive into pedestrians whether they have the right of way or not.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Mar 17, 2020 at 15:00
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    This is wrong. A driver is obligated not to hit a pedestrian, but that does not always give them the right of way. It may be that both parties are ruled at fault. And i think there are actually some states that have a "first one to break the law loses " law, but i don't know how that would affect things. Certainly in my state there have been cases of drivers not being charged fir hitting a pedestrian because the pedestrian broke the law and there was no way for the driver to react in time.
    – Andy
    Commented Mar 17, 2020 at 18:19
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    You're confusing different concepts here. In the state of Washington, for example, if I drive into a pedestrian who is in a crosswalk, I'm guilty of both vehicular assault and failure to yield the right-of-way. If I drive into a pedestrian who is crossing away from a crosswalk, I'm guilty of vehicular assault, but the pedestrian is guilty of failure to yield the right-of-way.
    – Mark
    Commented Mar 19, 2020 at 1:15
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    @Mark as I said, only in the US do cars ever have right-of-way over pedestrians. In the rest of the world, there are circumstances where the pedestrian may be acting illegally but they still have the right-of-way.
    – Dale M
    Commented Mar 19, 2020 at 1:18

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