What are Unmarked Crosswalks and How do They Affect Me?

Drivers and pedestrians across the country are quite familiar with the notion that when pedestrians are traveling across the road at a marked crosswalk, cars must stop. There are laws in place across the nation mandating that drivers yield. It may not be common knowledge that pedestrians also have the right of way when pedestrians are going across an ‘unmarked’ crosswalk.

Nevada Crosswalks

In Nevada, like many other states across the country, all intersections of roadways are typically considered to represent a pedestrian crosswalk. This is true no matter if there are painted crosswalk lines on the area or not. In other words, it is completely legal for pedestrians to walk across these “unmarked crosswalks.”

Future vision by Nevada’s city planners -- particularly in Las Vegas -- has resulted in cities across the state with wide roads. Due to the mostly flat geography of Las Vegas, major surface streets in the city are often six to eight lanes wide. Consequently, intersections at these wide streets are much larger than typical ones you see in other cities in Nevada and nationwide. Part of this is due to the fast development of Las Vegas over the past several years.

Under Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS), particularly Chapter 484B.280 through 484B.297, drivers must exercise due care to avoid a crash with a pedestrian. This includes honking the horn at the appropriate time in an effort to avoid a collision. This also requires using caution when a pedestrian is seen on or near the street, in or near a school zone, at or near a bus stop, at a school crossing, or at a marked or unmarked crosswalk. Furthermore, when a traffic sign does exist and the “walk” sign is illuminated, pedestrians must be given the right-of-way by the drivers of all vehicles in the surrounding area. That being said, pedestrians should not walk on the road way but, rather, cross a marked crosswalk while the “walk” sign is illuminated or cross safely at an unmarked crosswalk. Finally, if there is not a safe area to cross, a pedestrian should proceed to another safety zone or sidewalk if necessary.

Notably, the applicable NRS indicates there are crosswalks at every intersection of streets, whether or not they are marked. As a result, pedestrians should use the intersection to cross the street irrespective of whether the crosswalk is marked.

How to Stay Safe

It is no surprise that most Nevada car accidents that involve pedestrians occur in the middle of the street. This is not to say that pedestrian accidents do not occur at crosswalks. The likelihood of an accident happening at a crosswalk, however, is much lower than in another part of the road. For this reason, Nevada pedestrians should always use crosswalks at intersections. If a pedestrian is walking in the middle of the street, then he or she must yield the right-of-way to the drivers and their vehicles.

So, how do you stay safe? Drivers, first and foremost, must be alert. They should use caution when driving and be kind by slowing down when pedestrians are present. At the same time, pedestrians should always use caution when entering a roadway. While you may have the right-of-way under the law, any collision between a pedestrian and a vehicle will not end well for the individual regardless of who was in the right.

Personal Injury Lawyers

If you or someone you care about has been injured in a pedestrian accident in Nevada, contact the skilled personal injury attorneys at Parry & Pfau today to learn about your rights and obligations under the law.

(image courtesy of Frak Lopez)