An unmarked crosswalk is a place where pedestrians can cross the street at intersections, located at the point between one side of the roadway and the other. A marked crosswalk has painted white lines to designate the pedestrian pathway, but an unmarked crosswalk does not.
An unmarked crosswalk can only exist at an intersection. Unmarked crosswalks can be at four-way intersections as well as other types of intersections. In contrast, a marked crosswalk can exist at an intersection, in the middle of a city block, or at some other location that is not an intersection.
How to Identify an Unmarked Crosswalk
Unmarked crosswalks do not have pedestrian crossing signs or flashing lights. These crossing points also do not have lines, images, or words painted on the surface of the roadway. While it can be difficult to identify or notice an unmarked crosswalk as opposed to a marked one, the pedestrian has the right-of-way in both types of crosswalks, marked and unmarked.
An unmarked crosswalk is usually the space between the sidewalk on one side of a street and the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street, in other words, from curb to curb. When there are no sidewalks or curbs, an unmarked crosswalk can be the space from the edge of the road on one side of the street going over across the traffic lanes to the edge of the road on the opposite side of the street.
Why the Term "Unmarked Crosswalk" Is So Confusing
An "unmarked crosswalk" can cause confusion because the lack of white lines or other indicators makes it appear as though a crosswalk does not exist at that location. From a legal standpoint, however, there is no difference between a marked crosswalk in an unmarked crosswalk.
The Legal Responsibilities of Pedestrians at Marked or Unmarked Crosswalks
The law designates crosswalks as the locations where pedestrians are supposed to cross streets. Pedestrians are not supposed to step out into the street in areas that are not crosswalks. A common term for crossing the street in a place that is not a crosswalk is "jaywalking."
When a pedestrian is not in a crosswalk, the pedestrian is supposed to yield the right-of-way to drivers. This concept means that you must wait until traffic has cleared to cross the street if you are not in a crosswalk.
Pedestrians have the right-of-way when in a marked or unmarked crosswalk (in a marked crosswalk they must have the walk sign), but even this rule has limitations. A walker is not allowed to dart out into the path of a moving vehicle, even in a marked or unmarked crosswalk, if the car will not be able to stop in time safely. This rule means that if you get hurt because you step out into oncoming traffic, even in a crosswalk, the driver might not have to pay for your damages.
What Motor Vehicle Drivers Must Do at Marked or Unmarked Crosswalks
Whether the crosswalk is marked or unmarked, motorists have to stop and remain stopped when a pedestrian is in the crosswalk. The driver is not allowed to proceed until the pedestrian has cleared the driver's side of the road.
In other words, if there are two lanes of traffic going north and there are two southbound lanes, a driver going north must stop and remain stopped until pedestrian in the crosswalk has cleared both northbound lanes. The northbound drivers do not have to wait until the pedestrian also crosses the southbound lanes and reaches the far sidewalk.
Georgia law prohibits motorists from passing or going around drivers who have stopped for pedestrians in the crosswalk. This rule applies to both marked and unmarked crosswalks.
Because they can be hard to spot, as they lack painted lines, flashing lights, or signs, unmarked crosswalks are often the site of pedestrian accidents.
What to Do if You Were Hurt in a Pedestrian Accident in a Crosswalk
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident while crossing the street, you may be entitled to compensation. Call S. Burke Law today at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation with us. Our car accident lawyers can explain how crosswalk laws can affect your injury claim and answer any questions you might have about your legal right to compensation.