Washington State Pedestrian Accident Laws and Regulations

Below is a list of legal terms related to pedestrian laws and pedestrian accidents in Washington state. The terms and their definitions are a reflection of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) and Revised Code of Washington (RCW).

  • RCW 46.04.160 Crosswalk   
    Description: "Crosswalk" means the portion of the roadway between the intersection area and a prolongation or connection of the farthest sidewalk line or in the event there are no sidewalks then between the intersection area and a line ten feet therefrom, except as modified by a marked crosswalk.
  • WAC 132E-16-040 - Right of Way   
    Description: (1) Stopping for pedestrian. (2) Pedestrian sudden movements. (4) Overtaking vehicles stopped for pedestrian. (5) Yield right of way. (6) Curb ramps.
  • WAC 504-14-940 Pedestrians   
    Description: When traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation at pedestrian crossings, a vehicle must yield the right of way, by slowing down or stopping, when the pedestrian in the crossing is upon the same half of the roadway as the vehicle, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.
  • RCW 46.61.235 Crosswalks   
  • RCW 46.61.240 Crossing at other than crosswalks   
    Description: Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
  • RCW 46.61.261 Sidewalks, crosswalks -- Pedestrians, bicycles.   
    Description: The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way to any pedestrian or bicycle on a sidewalk. The rider of a bicycle shall yield the right of way to a pedestrian on a sidewalk or crosswalk.
  • SMC 11.40.160 Crossing intersection   
    Description: No pedestrian shall cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by official traffic-control devices; and, when authorized to cross diagonally, pedestrians shall cross only in accordance with the official traffic-control devices pertaining to such crossing movements. (RCW 46.61.240(4))
    (Ord. 108200 Section 2(11.40.160), 1979.)
  • SMC 11.40.160 Crossing intersection diagonally - Seattle Municipal Code   
    Description: No pedestrian shall cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by official traffic-control devices; and, when authorized to cross diagonally, pedestrians shall cross only in accordance with the official traffic-control devices pertaining to such crossing movements. (RCW 46.61.240(4))
    (Ord. 108200 Section 2(11.40.160), 1979.)
  • SMC 11.40.180 Standard of care for drivers of motor vehicles - Seattle Municipal Code   
    Description: The driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian who is carrying a cane predominantly white in color (with or without a red tip) or using a guide dog shall take all necessary precautions to avoid injury to such pedestrian.
  • SMC 11.40.220 Walking on sidewalk - Seattle Municipal Code   
    Description: Where there are sidewalks provided, no pedestrian shall move along and upon an adjacent roadway. Where sidewalks are provided but wheelchair access is not available, disabled persons may move along and upon an adjacent roadway until they reach an access point in the sidewalk.
    (Ord. 115323 Section 4, 1990: Ord. 108200 Section 2(11.40.220), 1979.)
  • SMC 11.40.240 Walking in roadway - Seattle Municipal Code   
    Description: Where sidewalks are not provided any pedestrian moving along and upon a street shall, when practicable, move only on the left side of the roadway or its shoulder facing traffic which may approach from the opposite direction and upon meeting an oncoming vehicle shall move clear of the roadway.
    (Ord. 115323 Section 5, 1990: Ord. 108200 Section 2(11.40.240), 1979.)
  • SMC 11.40.250 Playing in streets - Seattle Municipal Code   
    Description: No person upon roller skates, or riding in or by means of any coaster, skateboard, toy vehicle or similar device, shall go upon the roadway of any arterial street or transit coach route, except while crossing such street at a crosswalk; or engage in any sport, amusement or exercise or play in the roadway of any street.
    (Ord. 108200 Section 2(11.40.250), 1979.)
  • SMC 11.40.420 Pedestrian right-of-way - Seattle Municipal Code   
    Description: The City Council may by ordinance designate streets upon which pedestrians will be granted right-of-way over vehicles using that street.
    (Ord. 108200 Section 2(11.40.420), 1979.)
  • SMC 11.58.310 Regard for pedestrians - Seattle Municipal Code   
    Description: Notwithstanding the provisions of Chapters 11.40 and 11.44, every operator of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or person riding a bicycle upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary, and shall exercise all proper precautions upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person upon a roadway. (RCW 46.61.245)
    (Ord. 108200 Section 2(11.58.310), 1979.)
  • SMC 15.48.010 Snow and ice removal - Seattle Municipal Code   
    Description: It is the responsibility of the owner or occupant of private property to remove snow and ice on the sidewalks abutting his or her property in a timely manner and, if practical, prevent its becoming or remaining in an icy, ridged, uneven or humped condition or in a condition which is potentially hazardous to users of the public sidewalks.
    (Ord. 117569 Section 121, 1995; Ord. 90047 Section 39, 1961.
  • RCW 70.84.040 Precautions for drivers of motor vehicles approaching pedestrian who is using a white cane, dog guide, or service animal.   
    Description: The driver of a vehicle approaching a totally or partially blind pedestrian who is carrying a cane predominantly white in color (with or without a red tip), a totally or partially blind or hearing impaired pedestrian using a dog guide, or an otherwise physically disabled person using a service animal shall take all necessary precautions to avoid injury to such pedestrian. Any driver who fails to take such precaution shall be liable in damages for any injury caused such pedestrian. It shall be unlawful for the operator of any vehicle to drive into or upon any crosswalk while there is on such crosswalk, such pedestrian, crossing or attempting to cross the roadway, if such pedestrian is using a white cane, using a dog guide, or using a service animal. The failure of any such pedestrian so to signal shall not deprive him of the right of way accorded him by other laws.

Regardless of whether or not you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, it is important for all residents of Washington state to have a thorough understanding of the state's laws and regulations regarding pedestrians.

Chris Davis
Top-rated, award-winning, attorney practicing wrongful death & serious injury law in Seattle.
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