pedestrian state lawsPortland, especially downtown, is known for our bike lanes and pedestrian traffic. With people walking and using crosswalks, it is important to know pedestrian state laws that you must follow in your car and that you must follow as a pedestrian.

It is important to know the pedestrian state laws in Oregon.

Both pedestrians and drivers are responsible for the safety of pedestrians. In 2004, there were 45 pedestrians killed in a motor vehicle accident as well as over 550 pedestrian injuries. That number has and will continue to raise as the population grows.

Here are some important pedestrian safety tips to remember:

*There is a crosswalk at every intersection.

*A stopped car at a crosswalk might indicate there is a pedestrian walking. Do not pass a stopped car.

*It is best to stop 30 feet in front of the crosswalk so you don’t block the visibility for a car next to you.

*Never block crosswalk. This might force the pedestrian around your car, which could put them into a  dangerous situation.

*Be alert, especially around schools and establishments that serve alcohol. Children are unpredictable as well as those under the influence.

*Be aware that each pedestrian will move at a different pace. Elderly might take a longer time, as someone younger might be quick.

As ORS 801.220 explains that a crosswalk exists at any public street intersection, whether marked with paint or unmarked. Crosswalks also exist between intersections (mid-block) only if they are marked with white painted lines.

Driving an automobile has a lot of responsibility, more so to the vehicles and pedestrians that surround you. It is important you know the laws, as a driver could be cited for a fine of $200 or more for not stopping for a pedestrian.

When you come upon a crosswalk

When you come to a crosswalk it is the law to stop and remain stopped until all pedestrians have cleared the crosswalk. As a driver, you might see people waiting until the pedestrians has cleared the lane of the car then driving forward. This is illegal.

If there is a crossing guard, you must wait until they have cleared the crosswalk and their STOP sign is lowered. Be aware for blind or handicapped pedestrians. They will take longer to cross and are not able to move quickly in case of an emergency.

There are safety buffers for pedestrians. When you are turning at a signal, the safety buffer is your lane plus six feet. So you must wait for them to cross your lane plus another six feet.

Any other crosswalks, it is your lane plus the lane that is next to you. You must wait for the pedestrian to cross the entire lane plus the next lane.

And if you are a pedestrian, you have laws too. You must obey the traffic signals.  If you walk out without looking, the law won’t always be on your side.

If you are driving, the best bet is to always stop and wait until the pedestrians are completely out of your lanes. You can be late to your destination if it means preventing a terrible accident or death.

Todd Peterson, Oregon accident attorney on the telephone

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