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Right of way laws in Washington for pedestrians

Every year, many pedestrians lose their lives in the state of Washington. That is why people in the state have come together to set realistic goals to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities on Washington roadways. This includes a plan to reduce non-fatal pedestrian injuries to 20.3 out of 100,000 by the year 2020. 

One way for residents to reduce the number of injuries is to be cognizant of Washington's right of way laws. There are certain areas where pedestrians can cross the street, and motorists should always remain vigilant of when people enter the road. It is the responsibility of both groups to limit this public health issue. 

When do pedestrians possess the right of way?

Pedestrians can cross the street at unmarked and marked crosswalks when provided the signal to do so. Vehicles must stop until pedestrians have reached the other side of the street. In addition to motorists, bicyclists must also stop at lights to allow for people walking to cross. In the event the electronic signal does not work, pedestrians need to follow the gestures provided by the traffic officer. In the event the sidewalk becomes inaccessible, pedestrians can safely walk on the road. They must remain on the left-hand side of the roadway, or they have to remain on the street's shoulder facing traffic. 

When do motorists possess the right of way?

Vehicles have the right of way whenever a crosswalk is not present. Pedestrians need to yield to cars when they attempt to cross at a location where a crosswalk is not present. However, pedestrians should avoid crossing at unmarked locations regardless of traffic because jaywalking is a crime in Washington, and it can result in a fine. 

Pedestrians should be mindful to never bolt in the way of oncoming traffic. This means if a vehicle stops at a designated crosswalk, as it needs to do, then a person should not immediately race out in front of it to attempt to cross. 

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