Q&A - Jaywalking or Using an Unmarked Crosswalk?

Pedestrian CrossingI hope you can clarify for me if I illegally jaywalked today or was just using an "unmarked crosswalk." The grand entrance to our townhouse complex is directly across the street from the entrance to another grand townhouse complex. The two entrances form a kind of right-angle intersection with the 2-lane road they bisect (82nd avenue and 160th Street, Surrey approx. place).

There are sidewalks on both sides of the street that are sloped downwards to the street at the entrances to both townhouse complexes.

As the only point of formal pedestrian crosswalk is over a block away (and is often perceived by me to be a more dangerous pedestrian crossing because of the high-number of vehicles that just cruise through it), I have taken to exiting our townhouse unit and walking straight across the street to the next side.

Today as I waited for a safe time to cross the street, a unmarked police car yielded to me so I could cross before continuing on along 82nd. I crossed the street safely to the opposite townhouse complex but wondered later if I really am permitted to cross the street this way or should be risking my life down the street at the official crosswalk?

Please clarify if you can.


Unmarked crosswalks are

Unmarked crosswalks are located at intersections (so at the typical intersection there would be 4 unmarked crosswalks) but a private driveway entrance is not normally considered to be an intersection, so if you're crossing there (and there's no intersection) you would be jaywalking.  Jaywalking isn't illegal, but you are simply required to yield to traffic.  If the traffic wants to let you go, that's fine, just keep in mind the traffic coming in the other direction may not be expecting a pedestrian in the middle of a block, so make sure they see you. 


The place where the driveways meet the street is an intersection:

"intersection" means the area embraced within the prolongation or connection of the lateral curb lines, or if none, then the lateral boundary lines of the roadways of the 2 highways that join one another at or approximately at right angles, or the area within which vehicles travelling on different highways joining at any other angle may come in conflict;

Don't let the word "highway" in the definition confuse you. This is what a highway is.

Here's the definition of a crosswalk:

"crosswalk" means

(a) a portion of the roadway at an intersection or elsewhere distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by signs or by lines or other markings on the surface, or

(b) the portion of a highway at an intersection that is included within the connection of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on the opposite sides of the highway, or within the extension of the lateral lines of the sidewalk on one side of the highway, measured from the curbs, or in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the roadway;

(a) explains what we call a marked crosswalk and (b) an unmarked crosswalk. Your story describes (b).

So, yes, you may cross here and the police vehicle driver was following the rules by stopping to let you cross.

You may also choose to read the Surrey Traffic Bylaw which works along with the Motor Vehicle Act, which is the provincian legislation governing road use in BC. The part about pedestrians crossing the street starts at page 25.

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