Pedestrian Safety: Laws Vs. Safety Tips

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FRANKLIN COUNTY — Pedestrian safety is a major concern for area police departments throughout the area. All of the county’s boroughs have major highways running through the center of town.

Waynesboro Police Department has some advice for both motorists and pedestrians

The rights and duties of pedestrians vary greatly depending on the situation. It’s important to familiarize yourself with Pennsylvania laws, as well as common-sense safety tips.

THE LAW: Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available. If no sidewalk is available, you must walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.

TIP: Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach you to make sure you are seen.

THE LAW: Motorists must yield to pedestrians crossing the street at marked and unmarked intersections BUT the pedestrian must either be within the crosswalk or affirmatively indicate an intent to cross.

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TIP: Be visible at all times. Wear reflective materials, apply reflective tape, or use a flashlight at night.

ANOTHER TIP: Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections whenever possible.

THE LAW: Pedestrians shall not suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close as to constitute a hazard.

TIP: Keep alert at all times. That means putting away your electronic devices so you can stay focused on the road.


The onus of safety doesn’t rely solely on the pedestrian. As a motorist – especially in densely populated areas – it’s important to always be aware of your surroundings.

Use extra caution when driving in hard-to-see conditions, such as nighttime or in bad weather.

It’s illegal to pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. There may be people crossing that you can’t see. Slow down and pay attention when approaching or turning at a crosswalk.

If you are turning right at an intersection, and the pedestrian has a lit WALK signal, the pedestrian has the right of way.

Don’t engage in distracted driving. Taking your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off driving can have deadly consequences. A person engaged in distracted driving is up to four times more likely to be involved in a collision.

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