With school back in session these past few weeks, NJ drivers have been seeing more pedestrians crossing the street lately. Many say the Garden State has relatively confusing crosswalk rules. It’s important to have a clear understanding of what the laws are, so we can all work together to keep our streets as safe as possible. Here is a look at some crosswalk rules you might not have known.
4 Crosswalk Rules for NJ Drivers
- 1) Pedestrians must ALWAYS wait for the walk sign. Many wonder if a pedestrian always has the right of way at a crosswalk that have a walk light. The answer is no. A pedestrian must wait until the walk sign appears. This includes cases where oncoming traffic has a red light, since there are still often turning lanes passing through the intersection. As a driver, the law still requires you to use basic caution toward pedestrians. Do your best to avoid any accidents, even if people on foot are breaking the rules.
- 2) A crosswalk doesn’t have to be marked: New Jersey law allows for what is called an unmarked crosswalk. This is defined as the area stretched from one corner of an intersection to another. Drivers should treat unmarked crosswalks the same way that they would treat a painted crosswalk. Of course, this only applies to intersections; pedestrians crossing in the middle of the block are jaywalking.
- 3) Cyclists can’t use crosswalks: The law views cyclists as having all the same protections and responsibilities as drivers. That means that a cyclist has to approach an intersection in the same way that a car does. If a cyclist needs to use an crosswalk, he or she must walk their bike across. This is why you may see people walking their bikes across the street. Treat these individuals like you would treat any other pedestrian.
- 4) Pedestrians don’t have to let you know they are crossing: In most states, the law clearly indicates that a pedestrian has to give some sign that he/she plans to cross. In New Jersey, this is not a requirement. Cars are legally required to yield whether the pedestrian gives any indication or not. The best way to handle this issue is to drive slowly and cautiously through any area with lots of pedestrians.
Knowing the basics of crosswalk laws can help you know what to expect on the road. This an important aspect of driving safely in pedestrian areas. We all need to stay vigilant and informed to keep our communities safe from accidents.
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