Good Question: Different rules for different crosswalks?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Here’s a Good Question about driving. This is focused on safety for drivers and pedestrians. The law on the books is pretty straightforward, but that doesn’t mean everyday people aren’t a little confused.

Todd is one of them.

He asked News10NBC’s Brennan Somers: Are there different rules for different crosswalks? Todd’s not talking about crosswalks at busy intersections with dedicated traffic lights for pedestrians, all those walk/don’t walk signs at red lights.

He wanted answers for crosswalks you pass in other areas.

Somers went right to a pro to get a clear answer. He spoke with Deputy Donald Green from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. The 18 -year veteran of the force works on the traffic unit. He’s seen it all.

"In some places, there’s a sign in the middle of the road that says stop for pedestrians. Others may have it off to the side with an arrow pointing down with the pedestrian symbol, different rules for those crosswalks, or what?"

GREEN: "Every crosswalk is to be treated the same way. They may look different, might have more flashing lights or no lights at all. Treat them all the same way."

We all know that doesn’t happen. Drivers break the law every day. Sometimes, it may feel like a game of chicken if you’re the pedestrian waiting to cross and no one stops. Green says taking a risk too soon, by stepping out to make yourself more visible to drivers so they know you are there, is one of the worst things you can do.

SOMERS: "People just keep driving by, it’s almost like you have to put a foot out."

GREEN: "Sort of initiating that walk across?"

SOMERS: "Yes."

GREEN: "That’s not how this is supposed to work, as a driver when we approach that intersection or crosswalk proceed with caution, reduce speed and if there’s no pedestrian there go ahead and continue. If there’s a pedestrian there the pedestrian has the right of way at the crosswalk."

Again, if you see someone off on the sidewalk waiting to cross you have to stop. If you’re walking or out for a run waiting to cross, always assume drivers don’t and won’t see you.

If there is an accident–a car versus a pedestrian– crash teams investigate. Depending on what they find, like how fast you were going, it’s a sliding scale of charges from a violation misdemeanor up to a felony.


Watch previous Good Question segments here. If you have a question you’d like answered, email