Q&A - Should the Pedestrian Have Waited?

I pulled up to a crosswalk and a stop sign where there were pedestrians crossing. I came to a stop and let them go. after when there were no more pedestrians in sight I moved forward to see the traffic to ensure it was safe for me to go through the intersection (2-way stop).

As I pulled up a surge of traffic came and I was unable to proceed, which stopped me in the crosswalk.

While stopped, a pedestrian came to the crosswalk and proceeded to walk around the front of my vehicle, just as there was a clearing in traffic. Fortunately I saw her and did not move forward.

I honked the horn and told her she should have gone behind my car. She yelled back she had no choice but to go infront because I was in her way. I could understand her angst if she was waiting there to cross when I arrived, but seen as I was the first to arrive and was stopped by traffic when she eventually walked up, I feel that it was her duty as a pedestrian to proceed with caution behind my vehicle.

Not once did she attempt to make eye contact with me to make sure I saw her when she walked in front and on top of this she had to walk out into the on coming traffic to get around the front of my vehicle.

This seems incredibly unsafe for her to do. And what if I wasn't a driver who is aware of their surroundings and just started to drive before looking ahead? I tried to explain to her that I was mad not for the inconvenience but for the fact that I could have hurt her.

In summary, what I am wondering is how should she have proceeded. I know what I would have done as a pedestrian. And I know that as a vehicle you shouldn't impede the safe walkway of a pedestrian. but in this circumstance, I had followed the rules, but then was stopped uncontrollably by the sudden flow of traffic.

If I had not moved ahead through the crosswalk I would not have been able to tell if it was safe for me to go.

Was I in the wrong or was the pedestrian in the wrong?



This story sounds pretty close to the circumstances that I found myself in a couple of weeks ago in Vancouver. I wrote the article Pedestrian With a Death Wish because of it.

Like you, I personally feel that this was a very stupid thing for the pedestrian to do. It also serves to illustrate that you must never expect a person to wait, driver, cyclist or pedestrian, even when it makes sense or is required by law to do so. There are plenty of examples of this every time I drive anywhere.

The laws place a heavy onus on the driver:

Rights of way between vehicle and pedestrian

179  (1) Subject to section 180, the driver of a vehicle must yield the right of way to a pedestrian where traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation when the pedestrian is crossing the highway in a crosswalk and the pedestrian is on the half of the highway on which the vehicle is travelling, or is approaching so closely from the other half of the highway that he or she is in danger.

(2) A pedestrian must not leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close it is impracticable for the driver to yield the right of way.

(3) If a vehicle is slowing down or stopped at a crosswalk or at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the highway, the driver of a vehicle approaching from the rear must not overtake and pass the vehicle that is slowing down or stopped.

(4) A pedestrian, cyclist or the driver of a motor vehicle must obey the instructions of an adult school crossing guard and of a school student acting as a member of a traffic patrol where the guards or students are

(a) provided under the School Act,

(b) authorized by the chief of police of the municipality as defined in section 36 (1), or

(c) if located on treaty lands, authorized by the chief of the police force responsible for policing the treaty lands.

Duty of driver

181  Despite sections 178, 179 and 180, a driver of a vehicle must

(a) exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian who is on the highway,

(b) give warning by sounding the horn of the vehicle when necessary, and

(c) observe proper precaution on observing a child or apparently confused or incapacitated person on the highway.

Once the crosswalk is blocked, the situation does change because the pedestrian can no longer use it:

Crossing at other than crosswalk

180  When a pedestrian is crossing a highway at a point not in a crosswalk, the pedestrian must yield the right of way to a vehicle.

The only other rule that we need to be aware of is this one:

When vehicle stopping prohibited

189  (1) Except when necessary to avoid conflict with traffic or to comply with the law or the directions of a peace officer or traffic control device, a person must not stop, stand or park a vehicle as follows:

(e) on a crosswalk;

In your case, section 189 does not apply as it appears that you waited, proceeded and then were prevented from continuing by cross traffic. It might be different had you moved onto the crosswalk and stopped when it was clear that you had no hope of proceeding after you had moved forward.

Finally, there is a lot of case law involving pedestrians that will give you some insight into how the courts deal with the application of these laws.

As for the horn and verbal interaction you had with the pedestrian, be careful. Road rage doesn't just involve drivers.

Google Ads