As ArtPrize kicks off another year in downtown Grand Rapids, West Michigan personal injury lawyer, Tom Sinas, reminds viewers of important Michigan car and pedestrian laws and pedestrian safety tips to help make sure the event – one of the largest of its kind – is successful and safe for everyone.
In 2019, there were 2400 pedestrians hit in Michigan, of which 80 percent of those people were injured or killed. Then in 2021, the report in Michigan and across the country is there was a 20 percent increase in pedestrian traffic deaths.
In the city of Grand Rapids, there is a specific ordinance for drivers to consider when it comes to pedestrian safety:
"The operator of a vehicle shall stop for a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, except where the movement of traffic is being regulated by a police officer or a traffic control device."
The new ordinance doesn't use the old concepts of pedestrians needing to yield or vehicles needing to yield to pedestrians; if a pedestrian is in a crosswalk, the driver must stop.
On the pedestrian side, there's another ordinance by the City of Grand Rapids that says "every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than a crosswalk shall yield the right of way to oncoming vehicles." For the safest route, pedestrians should cross at a crosswalk, but if they don't they have to yield to oncoming vehicles. However, the law still states pedestrians always have the right of way regardless.
In the unfortunate event where a driver hits a pedestrian, drivers will be facing consequences no matter whose fault it is. Drivers can get anything from a civil infraction to a ticket, to becoming liable in a civil case- or an act of negligence.
Michigan's Auto No-Fault Insurance Law also comes into play in this situation because the insurance helps cover the victim's medical expenses.
So in short, when driving in busy and populated areas, keep your eyes on the road. Give pedestrians the right of way, no matter where and when they cross.
Learn more by calling Sinas Dramis Law Firm at (616)-301-3333 or visit sinasdramis.com.
Know the Law is sponsored by Sinas Dramis Law Firm.