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There’s confusion over when a driver can proceed through a crosswalk after a pedestrian has crossed by.

Do you have to wait until the pedestrian is all of the way across and on the sidewalk? Or can you drive on when the pedestrian is no longer at risk from being hit by your car?

It’s a question that even local police officers couldn’t agree on , some saying all the way across and others saying just when out of the danger zone, although all said they wouldn’t ticket anyone unless the pedestrian was at risk. DMV spokeswoman Jan Mendoza in Sacramento said the DMV couldn’t answer that question but pointed to the CHP for a definitive answer.

CHP Officer Jon Sloat said the answer is that you can proceed once the pedestrian is not at any risk of being hit, even if he suddenly whirled around and headed back in front of your car.

“There’s nothing in the vehicle code” about waiting until the pedestrian has reached the sidewalk, he said. “You just have to yield to them” until it’s safe to proceed.

And Sonoma County Superior Court Commissioner Carla Bonilla, who runs the local Traffic Court, seems to agree.

“There is a case by case issue here. I do not think the person technically has to be up on the second curb for the car to then drive on. However, clearly the intent of the law is for the pedestrian to be out of harm’s way before the car leaves,” she said in a statement.

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30 Comments

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    WOW just what I was searching for.

    May 22nd, 2013 2:43 am

  2. Nan

    You better not go to Cocoa Beach Florida and think that a car will stop for you. I have seen people pushing baby carriages, an old lady with a walker and others who were in the middle of the road and cars coming wouldn’t stop for them. They either had to wait in the middle or jump out of the way. This is an accident waiting to happen. And yes we went to police and still nothing is happening.

    August 3rd, 2013 12:29 pm

  3. G

    “CHP Officer Jon Sloat said the answer is that you can proceed once the pedestrian is not at any risk of being hit, even if he suddenly whirled around and headed back in front of your car.

    “There’s nothing in the vehicle code” about waiting until the pedestrian has reached the sidewalk, he said. “You just have to yield to them” until it’s safe to proceed.”

    Tell this to the Petaluma Police Department who were running a sting operation in DT Petaluma and pulled me over when a pedestrian/undercover cop just stepped into the crosswalk on the far side, yelled at me as a signal to the motorcycle cop that I was doing something wrong. After the cycle cop pulled me over, I explained to him just that, and he knew I was right and let me go.

    But then pedestrians need to be held accountable for walking blindly across crosswalks without looking, hitting and kicking vehicles like their entitled all the time. Just once I’d like to see these arrogant pedestrians get ticketed.

    October 4th, 2013 5:53 pm

  4. George

    To all the folks here who are stating it isn’t a major inconvenience to stop and wait for the pedestrians to finish crossing, I see where you are coming from and to be honest with you it would be nice in a perfect world. However, we are not in a perfect world, I’m not sure if your areas are but sometimes you will find yourself in a whole lot of traffic because a couple of arrogant bastards decide they will stop in the middle of the intersection and have a talk, or take their sweat time and slowly cross on the red while starring at you… This has happened to me countless times, everyday! I have yet to see a cop give any pedestrians a citation for breaking the rules. Somehow the rules are made for drivers to protect those who often don’t care to protect themselves. They are like the police then in many ways I suppose, you give them way and they walk all over you.

    October 24th, 2013 10:35 pm

  5. Kara

    I got pulled over today for 21950 Ped in crosswalk. I was in the left lane of two lanes making right turns. A lady with a baby stroller was crossing, and I slowed down and stopped my car to let her pass. When she completely passed, and was well on her way to the other side of the street, I proceeded to go on my way. There was absolutely no threat that she would be hit by me, or have fear that I would hit her, as she was too far away. I was then pulled over. The officer said, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” and I said, “No”, and I honestly didn’t. After he explained 21950, I said that I did “yield” to her and it wasn’t until she was clear on the other side of the crosswalk that I proceeded to go. He then got upset and said, “I was only going to give you a warning, but it doesn’t seem like you get it, and maybe I need to give you a ticket!” I told him that I understood what he said, and that I wouldn’ t do it again. He then gave me a “Courtesy Citation” instead of a real ticket, so I did not have to pay anything and it does not go on my driving record. He also went on and on about how if I was hit by a car from behind that I could have hit her with my car (which made no sense but I didn’t argue). So, here is my question: Do driver’s have to wait for pedestrians to completely clear the crosswalk before proceeding? Some say they “own” the crosswalk, and others say “when it is safe” to go. Which is it? I am not some driver in a hurry. I am willing to wait forever for a person if that is in fact the law. I do know consequences for hitting someone with a car, as my daughter was hit crossing the street and will be disabled the rest of her life. I have watched her suffer with her disability for 15 years now. There is no cure for her brain injury. The question is real, because right now in my town EVERYONE does not wait for pedestrians to completely clear the crosswalk, and they will honk at you if you don’t go. So, which is it? If it is true that they “own” the crosswalk, then how come it is not more heavily enforced? Why are police officers and judging differing with one another on the Internet. It is one or the other, and I don’t want to be a lawbreaker–especially in this regard. It is hitting too close to home.

    February 10th, 2014 7:41 pm

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