Edmonds police announce crackdown on pedestrian-car right-of-way violations

crosswalkIn light of recent fatalities and serious injury accidents involving cars and pedestrians, the Edmonds Police Department announced Tuesday it is cracking down on pedestrian right-of-way violations.

Starting in the month of July, police will begin focusing on traffic violations by “both pedestrians and vehicles in specific areas in the city,” said Edmonds police spokesman Sgt. Mark Marsh. The emphasis will be led by the traffic unit, which will rotate its enforcement efforts throughout the city “where there is a high volume of pedestrian and vehicular traffic,” Marsh added. Police will start with education, which will be followed by enforcement, including citations.

“The average driver needs to be aware that they cannot cross a street intersection or crosswalk if the pedestrian is within one lane of the direction in which the car is traveling,” Marsh said. “An example of this would be that if you are traveling down the street and come upon a crosswalk and the pedestrian is to your right preparing to cross in front of you, you as the driver MUST let them cross until they are over the center line, into the opposite lane of travel before proceeding on your way.”

During recent car-vs.-pedestrian collisions in both downtown Edmonds and along Highway 99, one cause “was failure to yield and inattention,” he said.

As a reminder, here is an excerpt from the Washington State Department of Transportation website on pedestrian safety.

Washington State Pedestrian Laws
Here is a summary of some of Washington’s pedestrian laws:
• Traffic signals -Pedestrians must obey traffic signals and traffic control devices unless otherwise directed by a traffic or police officer (RCW 46.61.050).
• Sidewalks – Drivers and bicyclists must yield to pedestrians on sidewalks and in crosswalks (RCW 46.61.261).
• Pedestrians on roadways – Pedestrians must use sidewalks when they are available. If sidewalks are not available, pedestrians must walk on the left side of the roadway or its shoulder facing traffic (RCW 46.61.250).
• Bolting into traffic – No pedestrian or bicycle shall suddenly leave a curb and move into traffic so that the driver can not stop (RCW 46.61.235).
• Drivers exercise due care – Every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary (RCW 46.61.245).
• Stop for pedestrians at intersections – Vehicles shall stop at intersections to allow pedestrians and bicycles to cross the road within a marked or unmarked crosswalk (RCW 46.61.235). See Washington’s Crosswalk Law for more information.
• Yield to vehicles outside intersections – 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 46.61.240).

If you like what you are reading, please consider a weekly, monthly or one-time voluntary donation of any amount to support our work. You can donate via the form to the right.

26 Comments

  1. My wife and I walk extensively in our city. We very much welcome this focus by our police. We expect that it will yield beneficial results. Thank you Sgt. Marsh!

  2. I so agree with this,I walk Edmonds everyday and most of the time the drivers are doing a good job.

    • I walk Edmonds almost every day and many times the drivers are not doing such a good job. I think this crackdown is a very good idea.

  3. I welcome the focus as well, but I hope pedestrians will make their intentions known when they are at an intersection. In some cases I have been unable to tell which direction the pedestrian is going to cross. There are times when I don’t know if the pedestrian is going to cross or stand at the corner for a while.

  4. I agree that both the driver and the walker need to be aware of one another. At 9th and Main I don’t cross until I make sure the driver sees me. It is natural for drivers to be looking for cars rather than walkers. The use of the orange flags is an excellent practice. Cars really react to the orange flags.
    I think that some signs around town as an awareness campaign would help. WATCH FOR WALKERS and other mottoes
    could make us the “Friendliest to Pedestrian town in the Puget Sound”.

  5. Good stuff Barbara! As a runner who uses our streets and sidewalks, I am constantly aware of vehicles, and have adopted the mindset that the driver doesn’t see me until we make eye contact.

  6. As suggested by a Beacon letter writer, I have been using the “wave exchange” between drivers & myself when using crosswalks. I have yet to be hit by a car. Feeling safer.

  7. The city is missing the point – It is about having more devises present in Edmonds (Edmonds has FEW compared to other towns, one of the first things I noticed when I moved here to live) for pedestrian safety – MORE speed bumps, marked crosswalks, more crosswalk signage, more speed signage. SAFE sidewalks so the sidewalks are USED more for their PURPOSE…..Our sidewalks with their many UNSAFE, UNEVEN, surface, disrupted surface and uneven edges and joints (some adjacent to each other with as much as a 3″!! difference in the middle of what should be a FLAT foundation surface are DANGEROUS to navigate, even for YOUNG people, to say the least about the elderly here. So perhaps money would be better spent FIXING foundational items, our streets and sidewalks so they are SAFE to walk on without having to go out into the street – and ticketing speeding cars like used to be done when I moved here 4 years ago.

    Recently at a Saturday Market, one of our law enforcement officers said to a pedestrian in a crosswalk…..”Take your time, I GET PAID BY THE HOUR”

    I find it offensive that anyone would would put the large part of the blame on elderly dead people. This article certainly makes the point that it is probably MORE the pedestrians fault for not following Washington State LAW for Pedestrians……… Those tourists probably can hardly wait to get here now……

    ******I would also like to add that painting the back of stop signs black (whose ideas was this?!)…..black recedes as NOTHING) downtown camoflages them so adjacent drivers aren’t ever AWARE that they are STOP SIGNS……..

    The citizens of Edmonds should expect BASIC infrastructure done and their tax dollars spent for this. . If this can’t be done by our present government, we need a government that puts it’s citizens safety first…..Not a govt. that blames its most VULNERABLE

    • Ms. Ryder:
      This is a story about a worthy safety campaign being initiated by our Police Department. Continuing your persistent campaign here against our city government is inappropriate.

  8. I can’t even count the number of times I have almost been hit in the crosswalk at Edmonds Way and 95th Ave W. I mean cars have come within inches of my thigh! And then the expression of the driver is one of shock and apologetic because they didn’t see me. Oh my! So scary. I have had to tell our guests to be so careful because drivers don’t see the pedestrians facing north when crossing Edmonds Way.

    • This morning at about 8:00 a.m. there was another car driving about 50 mph coming toward 2nd & Edmonds to access Sunset Avenue. Had an elderly person been crossing there, there would have been a good chance of another fatality. This car came from the fire station in about 6 seconds flat. This is COMMON here with speeding drivers. We walk, so we see it all and particularily the uptick of speeding drivers all over.

    • so – why do YOU walk into a situation knowing the driver doesn’t see you???

      one of the first rules of walking . . . if your path will cross the driver’s, be sure the driver see YOU!

      or stay off the streets!

      i am really so sick and tired of putting all of the blame on drivers!!!

      i drive, and frequently walk!

  9. So glad to see this safety emphasis – thanks for the good reminder of these traffic laws that we ALL need to adhere to. A friend of mine was “clipped” in a crosswalk by a car last weekend while crossing from Waterfront Coffee back to the ferry line. Luckily, she was not seriously injured, but it’s a good reminder to us all – Edmonds is a very busy town crowded with a lot of pedestrians during the summer months. We can all slow down and be more aware and hopefully we won’t see any more tragedies.

  10. I agree wholeheartedly with the pedestrian-auto emphasis. I am particularly concerned with ferry traffic rapidly coming up Main Street at Second which is a somewhat blind crossing due to closely parked cars. A person has to step into the intersection to see past them and are thus almost in a danger zone.

  11. Good article and glad to see some of the RCW statutes listed for pedestrians as well as drivers. I cringe every time I see parents jay walking with small children. In addition to putting their children at risk they are teaching another generation that jay walking is okay. I agree with many of the comments on here; the waving at the driver when walking (and vice versa) to acknowledge both have seen each other, wondering what a person is doing who is standing at the curb, and conducting an important enforcement, to name a few. Education is key. My thanks to our leadership.

  12. It’s about time. However, the lack of driver awareness of pedestrians in crosswalks took the life of a very dear friend. And this action by the police will not bring her back. Perhaps it will prevent someone else from being killed while in the crosswalk.

  13. I just spent the last hour and a half with a delivery to Mill Creek, Town Center. I spent quite a bit of time sitting outside of a coffee shop watching the meeting of pedestrians and cars. First off, the Main Street of this area is TOTALLY pedestrian friendly. I invite ANYBODY, including our Public Works people to spend some time studying this area. I have been to this “Main Street” about 4 times now, and EVERY time there are total cars parked all along this main street with many, many cars that are THERE and traveling there. You sit and watch and it is CLEAR (and CLEARLY MARKED all over!!) that this is a PEDESTRIAN FRIENDLY area where people can SHOP, STROLL, WALK, Sight-See, lolly-gag or WHATEVER and not have to WORRY about being hit by 5,000 lbs of steel and being DEAD. Mill Creek must be the place mothers with their babies and strollers GO because I counted (and quit counting at a certain point) 11 mothers with strollers crossing corners and not even looking up…..It appeared to me that they KNEW they were safe there at that Main Street, all along that street. There are BUMPS and SIGNAGE all over the place, to slow cars down, and make them AWARE that there are pedestrians and the right of way is FOR the PEDESTRIANS……I also saw a very bright sign that said (with an image of a pedestrian) “STOP FOR ME IT’S THE LAW” This WHOLE area is clearly marked and it is obvious that it is pedestrian friendly. I invite the citizens of Edmonds to go there and SEE how this is set up.

    This isn’t about bad-mouthing our city It is about very basic infrastructure safety for a town, and particularily a town like our town that IS a beach town, has plenty of tourists that come here (and hoping MORE), a town with a LARGE elderly population (who might be distracted occasionally) and a Main Streets with shops where people and tourists might want to lolly-gag, or not feel rushed or unsafe. Does this town WANT tourists (that lolly-gag and get distracted ALL THE TIME) to SHOP in it’s shops, mothers with babies in strollers enjoying their walks, people looking at the beach, sunsets, mountains, etc. or it’s citizens just knowing they are SAFE crossing any street?! Isn’t THIS what our town should want if we wish more economic transactions for our shops?……and Edmonds to BE a DESTINATION

    This city at the very least has a responsibility to the citizens of this town to make sure our infrastructure is SAFE.

    I’ve yet to see a person kill somebody with their body crossing a street.

    • Yeah, I don’t really agree with what you’re saying. The street is not a place for people to walk around in aimlessly and lollygag in. If a person crosses a street without even looking up to check for oncoming traffic then they are stupid and at fault for getting hit. Even driving at 20MPH if someone just walks out in front of me at the last second there is no way I have the chance to stop. This is something that needs to be put on both parties. Pedestrians need to be aware that cars are on the road and driving much faster than they can walk, and drivers need to be aware the pedestrians may cross at any moment. But, pedestrians only should have the right of way in designated crossing areas. Someone crossing in the middle of the street a block away from a cross walk does not have the right of way, nor should they.

      • right on, Justin!

        too many people seem to want Edmonds to be Disneyland! (and even there, occasionally accidents happen…)

        perhaps we should just outlaw the use of motorized vehicles… and bicycles… and horses – yeah people have been known to be run over by horses…

  14. At the very least, someone should disable the caps function on Tere Ryder’s computer.

  15. It all comes down to the driver. All you have to do is drive in this city to experience a middle-finger or to be yelled at. If you want any proof, drive through the parking lot at Madrona when school gets out, most of those mini-vans could care less about you or your child, and God forbid you hold one of them up! It’s about common courtesy people, you won’t get there any later by letting that car go through the stop sign before you. It’s really not a race people..

  16. Ms Ryder, I notice you have many good things to say about other towns. If Edmonds is so bad why all the comments of no changes. If it is so bad why do people stay. I would like to thank the police dept. for tackling this problem. I am sure with education and enforcement things will improve. Let us all just be a little more courteous. You cannot compare Edmonds to Millcreek. . I observe all over downtown strollers . I have yet to have a tourist tell me that Edmonds is not a pedestrian friendly town quit the opposite. Could you please tell me where the stop signs you were talking about are, could not find them

  17. Study after study have found that marked pedestrian crosswalks are not safe as people assume. They offer a false sense of security. The only way to cross any street (marked or unmarked) is to use common sense! The traffic laws apply the same to both types of crossings.

    • totally agree, John!

      pedestrian crosswalks, cameras, cops . . . laws…

      they ALL make us pass personal responsibility onto others

      NONE of those things listed above will protect you from an out of control vehicle!

      the closest you’ll ever get to “pedestrian safety” is when the pedestrian relies exclusively on his/her own senses – all of them!

      it’s called – being connected – to your surroundings!

  18. Speed though is an issue when seeing those pedestrians. Speed limits them selves are very good in Edmonds. Compliance with those speed limits not so much. As far as I am concerned we need to provide funding to have a moving violations officer at least three times a week. Then maybe we can have safer streets for all our cities residents.

    The times of the week are only to think about budget and funding.

  19. Speeding is a major problem on Edmonds Way from 100th through 238th (heading toward Hwy 99) and in reverse: from Hwy 99 to the PCC/QFC corner. Drivers fly through this area doing 50 mph. 236th St SW is a full stop light and accidents are a regular occurrence at this intersection. Another major concern is that this is a school zone – Madrona is up the hill and a Korean church with day care is on 238th. There are kids walking and crossing Edmonds Way, but absolutely NO SCHOOL SIGNS and cars are flying by. Also, there are hidden driveways and cars are supposed to observe 30 mph limit … what a joke! Get some cops with radar along this route for a month during the morning and evening commutes and issue lots of tickets.

Leave a Reply