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Traffic Q&A: Is it always illegal to jaywalk?

Post by Rob Carson / The News Tribune on Aug. 19, 2011 at 1:27 pm with 2 Comments »
August 19, 2011 1:34 pm

Question: Is it illegal statewide to jaywalk or just in areas where specified? There are many bus stops, for example, that are blocks away from crosswalks. Auburn Way for example. Are we truly expected to walk to the nearest crosswalk when in some cases those getting off the bus live right across the street?

Dorothy Churchill, Bonney Lake

Answer: State law doesn’t say you have to be in a crosswalk to cross a street. What it says is you can’t cross in the middle of a block if there are intersections at each end that are controlled by signals.

If you see a sign that says “No Pedestrian Crossing,” don’t do it. Otherwise, if you’re between uncontrolled intersections, you can go ahead and cross, but you do have to yield the right of way to all vehicles.

Keep in mind, though, that some cities have additional restrictions. Some prohibit crossing between all intersections, regardless of whether they’re controlled.

Leave a comment Comments → 2
  1. Reminds me of the time when I crossed a road in downtown Sydney, Australia many years ago. I didn’t use the crosswalk – a rule that was strictly observed. A policeman caught up with me and lectured me. I explained I was newly arrived from Britain where that rule was not observed. Got off that time but didn’t dare try it again!

  2. What the Q&A doesn’t say, which should be said every time a crosswalk is mentioned, is that there’s a crosswalk at every intersection, marked or not, with any exceptions posted “No Pedestrian Crossing”.

    “Stop for pedestrians at intersections – Vehicles shall stop at intersections to allow pedestrians and bicycles to cross the road within a marked or unmarked crosswalk (RCW 46.61.235).”

    Many motorists aren’t aware that the crosswalk exists even if it isn’t marked, and it’s important that they should.

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