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Yielding the right-of-way to pedestrians

When driving around Roanoke, you will inevitably come upon scenarios where pedestrians enter on to the roadway. The general assumption amongst many is that the road belongs to motorists and that pedestrians should keep to the sidewalks everywhere except those areas designated for them to cross. That assumption is largely correct, yet as is the case with many laws, there are exceptions. Many have come to members of our team here at Robert F. Rider, PLC. after having been cited for not yielding the right-of-way to pedestrians wondering how they might challenge such a supposed violation. The key to doing so is understanding when and where you have the right-of-way. 

Per Section 46.2-924 of the Code of Virginia, you (as a motorist) are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at any of the following locations (or in any of the following situations): 

  • At a marked crosswalk whether located mid-block or at an intersection
  • At any pedestrian crossing indicated by the prolongation of the lateral boundary lines of a sidewalk at the end of a block
  • At any intersection where the posted speed limits for the intersecting streets is less than 35 miles per hour

Similarly, at any intersection where the flow of both foot and roadway traffic is being directed by a law enforcement officer or traffic signal, you must yield according to how the flow is indicated (in other works, if the crosswalk signal indicates “WALK” (or “DON’T WALK” yet is flashing), you must yield to pedestrians. 

Conversely, pedestrians are not allowed to enter into the roadway in a way that interferes with the regular flow of traffic. They must also yield to you if crossing mid-block where there is no crosswalk. More information on sharing the road with pedestrians can be found throughout our site.