Foresight exercised by city planners of Las Vegas in its developing days has led to a city with very wide roads. This is a product perhaps of Las Vegas’s development occurring relatively recently, in comparison to other cities. Unlike many cities, which developed at a much slower pace, and also due to Las Vegas’s mostly flat geography, major surface streets in Las Vegas are seven to eight lanes wide in many cases.
Most of Las Vegas’s development occurred within the last 50 years, when automobiles were given a priority by city planners. For example, if you compare streets in the Fremont Street area, which date back to Las Vegas’ earlier days as a railroad town, you’ll find the streets more in line with other cities that developed at the same time – they’re not as wide.
Due to the wide streets, intersections are much larger, and pedestrian crossings are also very long. Which leads to questions about when a car can enter a crosswalk with pedestrians in it. If you are stopped at an intersection making a right turn, is it legal for a driver to enter a crosswalk where pedestrians are present in any part of the crosswalk?
What the law says
Nevada Revised Statutes, in particular the Rules of the Road in Chapter 484B.280 through 297, gives an answer. Section 280 spells out the duties of a driver in regards to pedestrians. A driver shall exercise due care to avoid a collision with a pedestrian, sound their horn at appropriate times to avoid such a collision, and exercise caution when a pedestrian is observed on are near the street, at or near a bus stop, and in or near a school zone, school crossing, or a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
In section 283 it indicates that where traffic signals exist, while the WALK sign is illuminated that pedestrians in the crosswalk “…must be given the right-of-way by the drivers of all vehicles.” It also indicates that while DON’T WALK or WAIT signals are illuminated, that pedestrians should not enter the roadway, but that pedestrians who entered the crosswalk when WALK signal was illuminated should proceed to a sidewalk or safety zone if provided.
This still does not answer the question of whether a driver must wait until the pedestrian gets completely to the other side of the crosswalk before entering the crosswalk. North Las Vegas Police Officer Chrissie Coon was asked about crosswalks on a four-lane-or-more street. “You must wait for the pedestrian to reach the median before you proceed with your right-hand turn.” On a less than four lane road, the pedestrian must be given right-of-way when crossing, which means don’t enter the crosswalk until the pedestrian is on the other side.
It is also important to note as indicated in section 280, there are crosswalks at every intersection, whether marked or not. Pedestrians should attempt to cross the street at intersections, as most pedestrian vehicle collisions occur mid street, outside of marked or unmarked crosswalks. When crossing mid-street, pedestrians must yield right-of-way to drivers.
Perhaps implementing some sensible rules for ourselves would make sense to increase the safety of both drivers and pedestrians:
Drivers – Be alert, use caution, be kind, slow down when pedestrians are present. They are not just obstacles blocking you from getting to your destination…they are real people getting where they want or need to go.
Pedestrians – Use caution anytime you enter a roadway. You may have the right-of-way, but any collision between you and a two-ton moving piece of metal, will end badly for you, regardless of your right-of-way.
Ticket Busters can help. If you as a driver have received a citation for a crosswalk violation, call us to discuss your case at (702) 666-6666.