EDITOR’S NOTE: We asked Wess Winn, community services officer and crime prevention coordinator with the Waxahachie Police Department to write a weekly column in an effort to answer many of the law enforcement-related questions posed by our readers. Here’s this week’s column.
Who has the right-of-way at a cross walk? This question was posed to me this week by a good friend.
Section 552.001-552.003 of the Texas Transportation Code answers this question, but I am going to paraphrase for the sake of the readers and myself.
There are two different rights-of-way we see; control signal present or at a crosswalk (without lights).
Right-of-way at a control signal means a light, which instructs the pedestrian when to proceed or stop. We see these at most of the red lights in and around Waxahachie and other cities. The pedestrian is to proceed across the roadway when the “Walk” signal is displayed. If the “Don’t Walk” or “Wait” signal is displayed, the pedestrian is to wait until the next “Walk “signal. If the pedestrian is in the middle of the cross walk, and the “Don’t Walk” or Wait” signal begins flashing, they must continue to the sidewalk or safety island. In these instances the red light (controlling vehicles) will correspond to the crossing signal given to the pedestrians.
Other crosswalks will not have lights for vehicles and/or pedestrians. Most of these locations could still be marked with crosswalk stripes and even have a blinking light to warn drivers they are approaching a crosswalk.
At these particular locations, especially when marked, the pedestrian still has the right-of-way and the vehicle shall yield to them.
A vehicle approaching from the rear of a vehicle that is stopped to let a pedestrian cross may not pass the stopped vehicle. Pedestrians may not suddenly leave a curb, or other place of safety, and proceed into a crosswalk in the path of a vehicle so close that it is impossible for the vehicle operator to yield.
To be safe, make sure you, as a driver, are always aware of where crosswalks are located. As a pedestrian always double check for vehicles even if you do have the right-of-way.
Most the time the vehicle wins the battle when it goes up against the human body. Play it safe and do not take for granted that the driver of a vehicle observes you.
Wess Winn holds a master peace officer certification. If you have a Police Beat question for Officer Wess Winn, he may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 972-937-9940, Ext. 212. Look for your questions to be answered here in the Waxahachie Daily Light every Sunday or listen to officer Winn’s show on KBEC Radio AM 1390 at 9 a.m. every Monday.