What has happened to our laws regarding pedestrians at crosswalks?

So being on foot and being nearly hit or having a driver proceed forward has really made me wonder what testing the drivers took to get their license.

In Oregon we have ORS 811.028: Failure to stop and remain stopped for pedestrian; penalty. (1) The driver of a vehicle commits the offense of failure to stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian if the driver does not stop and remainstopped for a pedestrian when the pedestrian is: (a) Proceeding in accordance with a traffic control device as provided under ORS 814.010 or crossing the roadway in a crosswalk; and (b) In any of the following locations: (A) In the lane in which the driver’s vehicle is traveling; (B) In a lane adjacent to the lane in which the driver’s vehicle is traveling; (C) In the lane into which the driver’s vehicle is turning; (D) In a lane adjacent to the lane into which the driver’s vehicle is turning, if the driver is making a turn at an intersection that does not have a traffic control device under which a pedestrian may proceed as provided under ORS 814.010; or (E) Less than six feet from the lane into which the driver’s vehicle is turning, if the driver is making a turn at an intersection that has a traffic control device under which a pedestrian may proceed as provided under ORS 814.010.

Oregon pedestrian right-of-way laws are not actually that complex. And the first rule is that, under Oregon law, every intersection constitutes a pedestrian crosswalk, whether or not it is marked or controlled by a traffic device.

A Portland pedestrian attorney will often hear the excuse from drivers that because the pedestrian was in an uncontrolled intersection (no lights, orwalk/don’t walk controls), the car should naturally have the right of way. This is most definitely not the case! This explains, however, why nearly 75% of accidents between motor vehicles and pedestrians are caused because the driver failed (or refused) to yield the right of way to the pedestrian. What’s more, a staggering 50% of all accidents between vehicles and pedestrians in Oregon occur while the pedestrian is in a crosswalk!

Pedestrians are not by any means totally absolved of responsibility for road safety. Oregon has a long list of statutes regarding pedestrian right of way and drivers’ duties of care when out on the roads. They include:

• Obeying the lights at a controlled intersection. If the pedestrian is facing a red light, they do not have any right of way. Similarly, if they are facing a steady yellow light, they may not enter the roadway.

• If the pedestrian is facing a sign that says Don’t Walk or Wait, they do not have the right of way. This becomes a bit tricky if the pedestrian has entered a crosswalk when the light says Walk, then changes to Don’t Walk or Wait. In those cases, it is the pedestrian’s duty to move to a point of safety, like a traffic island or footpath, and wait until they once again have the right of way.

I don’t find it as all that much of a shocker because I have even had two local police officers fail to yield as well as proceed to move forward once I have gone past their car.

So do we really have the right of way?

David Chamberlain

Pendleton

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