Lifestyles

Unless in crosswalk, pedestrians must yield

A reader observes "I was crossing West Mall at UBC over a speed hump towards the bus stop.

A car was driving on West Mall and did not stop. When I showed the driver the white arrows on the pavement, he said that these were speed hump marks, not a crosswalk.

I recognize that I might have been wrong assuming it was a pedestrian crosswalk, but then I started thinking, who should have the right of way?"

Properly marked crosswalks in British Columbia consist of either two parallel lines extending across the road from curb to curb at a signalized intersection or elsewhere by a zebra crossing.

A zebra crossing is a series of rectangles with the long sides parallel to the road edges marking the path for pedestrians to cross. Examples of both are found in the Pedestrian Crossing Manual for British Columbia.

Speed humps, different from the speed bumps usually found in parking lots, are not yet common in this province. They are traffic-calming devices intended to slow vehicle speeds and help make neighbourhoods more livable for all road users.

Arrowheads are painted on the approach side of the hump, indicating the direction of travel and making them more visible to drivers.

Right of way generally belongs to the driver outside of crosswalks. Pedestrians must yield or may be forbidden to cross outside of a crosswalk by a municipal bylaw.

If a crosswalk is present, marked or unmarked, right of way belongs to the pedestrian.

The only condition is that the pedestrian must not move in front of a vehicle when a driver would be unable to yield to them.

For more information about this topic, visit www.drivesmartbc.ca. Questions or comments are welcome by e-mail to comments@drivesmartbc.ca. Tim Schewe is a retired RCMP constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. His column appears Thursdays.

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