To say “there’s a war on” between motorists and pedestrians is far too dramatic, but some tension always simmers under the quiet surface of Kentucky roadways. Drivers shake their heads as pedestrians break the law strolling in the road, while pedestrians shake their heads for not getting their rightful right-of-way.
So, here is a quick look at some of the more controversial or little-understood laws for where, when, and how walkers should walk and when pedestrians may not get the right of way.
Motorists often must defer to pedestrians
Cars have plenty of responsibilities ethically and under the law to give pedestrians plenty of room to go on their way. For example, Kentucky law says that when a pedestrian is walking across the street, the “vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be.”
When you drive behind a driver politely doing the right thing by letting pedestrians cross at crosswalks (marked or unmarked), you cannot drive around the stopped vehicle.
Drivers cannot make extremely poor decisions
Very sensibly, the law is clear that drivers must take “care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian” and “exercise proper precaution upon observing a child or an obviously confused or incapacitated person upon a roadway.”
Likewise, drivers must “yield the right-of-way to any blind pedestrian carrying a clearly visible white cane or accompanied by an assistance dog.”
Pedestrians have laws to break too
While pedestrians enjoy a wide berth to keep them alive, laws exist to penalize them if they break the law and live to pay the fine.
Crossing the road anywhere that is not a crosswalk (marked or unmarked), pedestrians must give vehicles the right of way. When they do cross the road, they cannot take a diagonal route, but instead must go straight across, you might say, except in special situations where the road markings and the like instruct pedestrians to go diagonally.
Where there is a sidewalk, pedestrians must use it. Where there is no sidewalk, they can walk on the shoulder as far from the road as they reasonably can.
Pedestrians too must use their heads
Like the laws requiring cars not to commit outrages, the law also has obviously wise rules for pedestrians. A pedestrian altered by drugs or alcohol “to a degree which renders himself a hazard” can only use a sidewalk, or stay wherever they are.
No pedestrian can go around, under or over a railroad crossing gate when it is closed, closing or still opening. They just have to wait.
And for perhaps a variety of reasons, nobody can stand in the road to ask for a ride or “for the purpose of soliciting employment or business from the occupant of any vehicle.”