Stratford Police Department News Release
For Immediate Release: January 09, 2012
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
ISSUED BY: Stratford Police Department, Traffic Enforcement Division
Connecticut law (TITLE 14) defines the rights and responsibilities of both pedestrians and drivers in regards to crosswalks, and pedestrians crossing the street. It is a common misconception that pedestrians always have the right of way when crossing the street, and many drivers ignore their responsibilities when pedestrians are legally crossing roadways. The attached explanation of rights and responsibilities is intended to serve as an educational opportunity and to clarify some common misconceptions by the public in this regard.
A pedestrian generally has the right of way over all vehicles while at the curb of or in a crosswalk. This means that cars and other vehicle traffic (buses, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, etc. ) must slow down or stop in front of a crosswalk when a pedestrian is using or is about to use a crosswalk. Vehicles must remain stopped until the pedestrian has fully crossed the street or has reached a "zone of safety. " The term "zone of safety" is not defined in the statute.
The statutes identify three basic types of crosswalks, and different rules apply for each type. They are: (1) crosswalks controlled by "walk" and "don't walk" electronic signs; (2) crosswalks controlled by other traffic signals (such as traffic lights or stop signs) or police officers; (3) crosswalks identified by devices or special markings or lines made on the surface of the road. This third type is typically used near schools and in outdoor shopping districts and may be placed in the middle of a block in addition to intersections.
Pedestrians face some restrictions regardless of what type of crosswalk they enter. All pedestrians must yield to emergency vehicles which indicate either by flashing lights or by sound that they are operating in an emergency situation. A pedestrian must also stay within the boundaries of a crosswalk and may not cross an intersection diagonally. Whenever possible, a pedestrian must stay on the right hand side of a crosswalk. Finally, a pedestrian must yield to vehicles where no crosswalk exists.
Crosswalks Controlled by "Walk" and "Don't Walk" Signals. While at a crosswalk controlled by a "walk" and "don't walk" sign, pedestrians have the right of way over all vehicles, including turning vehicles, as long as they comply with the signal. A pedestrian may begin to cross a street only when there is a "walk" signal. A pedestrian may not begin to cross the street if the "don't walk" signal is either blinking or solid. If a pedestrian begins to cross the street when the signal reads "walk" but the signal changes to "don't walk" while he is still crossing the street, he must continue to cross the street until he reaches the other side or until he reaches a "safety island" which could be a raised sidewalk dividing traffic lanes (CGS § 14-299 (b)(5)).
Crosswalks Controlled by Traffic Signals or Police Officers. Pedestrians using crosswalks controlled by traffic signals (such as traffic lights or stop signs) or by police officers may not cross against the traffic signal or direction of the officer. If a traffic light is red, then a pedestrian may cross and has the right of way over all vehicles, including turning vehicles, until he has reached the other side of the street.
Any Crosswalk Indicated by Devices, Lines, or Markings on the Surface of the Road. Pedestrians have the right of way over all vehicles, including turning vehicles, while in a crosswalk which is indicated by devices, markers, or lines on the surface of the road. Typically, these types of crosswalks are located near schools, churches, and in outdoor shopping districts. They allow pedestrians to cross a street in the middle of a block in addition to an intersection. All traffic must slow down or stop if a pedestrian has either: (1) stepped up to the curb of such a cross way, (2) has entered the half of the road in which the driver's vehicle is located, or (3) has entered the half of the road in which the driver's vehicle is not located (CGS § 14-300(c)). Furthermore, vehicles may not pass other vehicles which are stopped or paused at a crosswalk.
Lieutenant Frank Eannotti
Traffic Division Commander