I do a fairly good job of watching for people that need to cross at intersections. I stop and let them cross. Often they are either in a slow group, are just slow, or disabled and walk slowly. I usually proceed after all pedestrians are in the middle of the adjoining lane to proceed. I am more conscious of those that appear unsteady. My question is: Do I really have to wait until they have exited the crosswalk?
Answer, from Campbell Police Captain Charley Adams:
The vehicle code requires that a driver yield the right of way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked or unmarked crosswalk, and that the driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk exercise all due care necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.
There is not specific vehicle code section that requires a driver to wait until the pedestrian has completely crossed the street and is on the opposite sidewalk. So technically, once the pedestrian has passed by the lane in front of a vehicle, the vehicle may then proceed forward so long as it does not put the pedestrian in an unsafe situation.
Courtesy goes a long way when faced with this situation.
Remaining stopped at the crosswalk until the pedestrian completely crosses the street can help bring the fact that there is a pedestrian in the roadway to the attention of drivers approaching from the other direction and therefore help that pedestrian safely cross the street.
Driver's should ask themselves what they would like to have happen if they or their loved ones were crossing the street, and act accordingly to promote a safe environment while using the roadways.
Do you have a question for local law enforcement officers? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get them answered.
Also, you can post questions in the comments below.