Right

I had a female scream at me a week or so back after I almost hit her with my motorcycle when she walked out in front of me at an intersection. She launches herself full speed into the intersection right in front of me. On a side note, I actually encounter this question a lot in my job too.

My first reply was, “even if you were right, would you rather be right or dead?” That, of course sent her into another screaming fit of “the pedestrian always has the right of way,” which is wrong. I didn’t have time to keep screaming back so I drove away leaving her screaming like an idiot.

The pedestrian has first dibs on “right of way” at an (un)marked crosswalks. [1]California vehicle code 21950. The rule is the same in all states but may be under different statute numbers  If neither party has committed to the intersection, the pedestrian always gets first dibs. The latter is where most people get confused. If a vehicle(s) enters an intersection from either side, pedestrians do not have the right of way over the vehicle.

Now, does that mean the vehicle is free to run you over? Of course not, the statute spells out the requirements to slow and proceed with caution. On my incident above I was fully in the intersection crossing and almost into the opposing crosswalk when Karen decided to launch into it. Yes, I had enough time to slam on the brake and not hit her However, another foot closer and she would have been sticky putty under my wheels.

So, now you know. Don’t be a Karen, More importantly, don’t let the epithet on your tombstone be, “he had the right of way“.

Now…get off my lawn you crazy kids!

References

References
1 California vehicle code 21950. The rule is the same in all states but may be under different statute numbers

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