Police warn drivers to obey crosswalks, lookout for pedestrians

Published Jun 20, 2018 at 4:00pm

Rome Police are out on patrol, making sure local motorists are vigilant of following the law at crosswalks.

A special enforcement effort was conducted Tuesday on Floyd Avenue at the Mohawk River Trail, near Mohawk Valley Community College, and drivers were ticketed for not following the rules of the road when it comes to allowing pedestrians and bicyclists the right of way.

“Using some common sense and courtesy goes a long way,” said Lt. James Boyer as he advised motorists to fully stop at crosswalks. Boyer joined Patrolman Tom Medlin in Tuesday’s enforcement.

During the summer months, the trail traffic has increased as local residents utilize it for exercise and recreation. Motorists should be cautious of the increased pedestrian traffic in crosswalks this time of year, Boyer said. Evenings, when there could be decreased visibility during dusk, is often a popular time for pedestrians to utilize the trail and drivers should be especially careful, he cautioned.

Section 1151 of the state Vehicle and Traffic Law gives pedestrians the right of way while crossing a street in a crosswalk. The same law also requires pedestrians to do so safely.

The motorist must yield to a pedestrian already in the crosswalk. A pedestrian should only enter into the crosswalk when it is safe to do so.  

Part of the enforcement effort is to also educate the public on adhering to rules of the road at crosswalks. Besides the crosswalk located near MVCC where the Mohawk River Trail intersects, a major crosswalk, and area of concern, is the one located on East Dominick Street, police said. The crosswalks are clearly marked in these areas, and the pedestrian traffic can be quite heavy at times.  

According to the state traffic law, “When traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way, slowing down or stopping if need be to yield to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk on the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, except that any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overpass has been provided shall yield the right of way to all vehicles.”

The law also states, “No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impractical for the driver to yield.”

So as drivers must use caution and common sense, so do the pedestrians. Boyer also explained that if a walker, runner or bicyclist is in the middle of the crosswalk, drivers should not go around them. Such an incident occurred during Tuesday’s enforcement.

“No vehicles can go around a pedestrian” who has started through the crosswalk, he said. “You have to remain stopped from (the walker’s) start to finish so it is safe to continue” passing through the crosswalk. And as far as adhering to bicyclists, the same rules apply, Boyer said.