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Know the Law – Pedestrian Road Rules

Posted at 8:40 AM, Oct 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-15 08:40:48-04

It’s that time of year again when Grand Rapids residents are hitting the city on foot. With ArtPrize wrapping up and Halloween just around the corner, we can bet the number of pedestrians on city streets and sidewalks will continue to rise until the snow flies. West Michigan car accident lawyer, Tom Sinas, talks about pedestrian rules in Grand Rapids.

Pedestrian Rules and Sidewalk Use
Michigan law requires pedestrians to use a sidewalk parallel to the road they’re walking on if one is available and it is “practicable.” Practicable is simply a term meaning when it’s convenient enough to do so. While some areas in the city don’t have sidewalks and some sidewalks are unfit for walking, the general rule is use a sidewalk when you can.

Pedestrian Rules and Roadway Use
When there’s no sidewalk, or it’s under construction, in poor condition, or covered in snow, and pedestrians are forced to use the roadway instead, there are some rules and guidelines to follow. First, pedestrians are required to walk against the flow of traffic when using the road. It’s generally considered safer and increases visibility to drivers as well as alerts pedestrians to oncoming traffic. Second, crossing at intersections or in crosswalks is advised.

Pedestrian Rules in Grand Rapids – Road Crossing
There’s a misnomer that pedestrians automatically have the right-of-way under all circumstances, and that simply isn’t true. Pedestrians cannot step out into traffic whenever and wherever they want. There also isn’t a law that requires pedestrians to cross at intersections or in crosswalks. However, these are obviously the safest places to do so.

Grand Rapids Ordinance Protects Pedestrians
Surprisingly, Grand Rapids has above average rates of pedestrian-auto accidents. The city is doing something about this and recently passed new ordinances not only requiring motor vehicles to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, but actually come to a stop. This is why new pedestrian stop signs are popping up in crosswalks all over the city.

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