Let’s start with, I’m confused with crosswalks.   When we’re kids we are told “only cross the street where there are crosswalks.  Cars will yield to you.”  But as an adult, I watch people speed through crosswalks with people standing on the side waiting to cross.  I have even quit stopping for every one of them because of how often I’ve been honked at or almost hit.

So I was intrigued when WOODTV covered this issue about the crosswalk downtown Lowell that crosses M-21.

Talking about the crosswalk that crosses Main Street or M-21 in Lowell, WOODTV explains that in Michigan you are not supposed to stop at crosswalks on state highways, which M-21 is obviously a state highway.  The WOODTV story goes on to say that if you were to stop on at the crosswalk in Lowell, and someone rear-ended you, you’d be at fault for the accident because you shouldn’t have stopped to let people cross on a state highway.  Those people just have to play frogger to get across.

How does it work if you’re in the city with a crosswalk that’s not on a state highway? Like this summer, the Mitten Brewing Co. had the city put signs in the street reminding people to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.  Which is definitely needed along Leonard because crossing can be kid of scary especially since I’ve seen those warning signs flattened on the street as people have ran over them.

First off, it’s not clearly defined on  Michigan.gov, but after some searching, I found this on NCSL.org (National Conference of State Legislatures):

Michigan: Vehicles must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within a crosswalk that are in the same half of the roadway as the vehicle or when a pedestrian is approaching closely enough from the opposite side of the roadway to be in danger. Pedestrians may not suddenly leave the curb and enter a crosswalk into the path of a moving vehicle that is so close the vehicle is unable to yield. Pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to vehicles when crossing outside of a marked crosswalk at an intersection.

So basically, unless there is a traffic signal for the crosswalk, cars aren’t expected to stop for you to cross the street; that’s on you to yield to the cars.  NOW if you’re already IN the lane the vehicle is travelling in, then the vehicle should yield to you (which means slow down for you to run?).

Now we know,  crosswalks on a street without a signal are just there so cars know to look for people crossing, but not because they HAVE to stop.  Those of you who do stop to allow people to safely cross, don’t get hit, but thank you!