Think You Know Where Crosswalks are Located?
Crosswalks can be “marked” and “unmarked”. The Revised Code of Washington (the Washington laws) are clear that a “crosswalk”:
….means the portion of the roadway between the intersection area and a prolongation or connection of the farthest sidewalk line or in the event there are no sidewalks then between the intersection area and a line ten feet therefrom, except as modified by a marked crosswalk. RCW 46.04.160
What all of this means is that a “crosswalk” can be “unmarked.” Simply put, if you are at the corner of an intersection there exists a crosswalk that is ten feet wide between the corners of the intersection- whether or not it is painted on the asphalt. The pedestrian has the right of way in the crosswalk—whether it is “marked” or “unmarked” and vehicles must give you that right of way.
So what does this mean? RCW 46.61.235 states:
The operator of an approaching vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian or bicycle to cross the roadway within an unmarked or marked crosswalk when the pedestrian or bicycle is upon or within one lane of the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning. For purposes of this section “half of the roadway” means all traffic lanes carrying traffic in one direction of travel, and includes the entire width of a one-way roadway.”
That doesn't mean that the crosswalk is always yours—and just yours or that it will provide some sort of safety net for you if you leave the curb suddenly. RCW 46.61.235 goes on to state:
(2) No pedestrian or bicycle shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk, run, or otherwise move into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to stop.
There are a lot of considerations in these types of cases and determining liability can be terribly difficult—you can rest assured that if there be any doubt, more often than not an insurance company will deny liability and refuse to provide full and fair compensation for the victim of a pedestrian vs. auto collision. For this reason, if you or a loved one are injured in a crosswalk—marked or unmarked it is always wise to hire an attorney experienced in handling crosswalk cases.
The attorneys at Schauermann Thayer Jacobs Staples & Edwards PS have handled cases against negligent drivers who hit pedestrians in crosswalks. We've also handled cases against cities, counties and states that failed to make their crosswalks safe for pedestrians. Knowing your rights as a pedestrian is the first step toward protecting yourself from being injured. If you are injured, consulting with an attorney experienced in protecting and enforcing those rights can be paramount in securing a recovery for your harms and losses.