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Pedestrian laws and safety reminders heading into winter season

Posted at 2:12 PM, Nov 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-12 18:47:40-05

As winter gets underway, you may see more runners and walkers in the street more often due to ice on the sidewalk, but there are important rules to remember.

Motorists are required by law to always yield to pedestrians, but those on foot also have a few laws that they need to follow.

“With pedestrians, the law for that is when a sidewalk is provided, then that pedestrian needs to be using that sidewalk. The law also says when practical,” Bozeman Police Sgt. Rick Musson said.

It’s up to the pedestrian to decide if it’s practical or not to be on the sidewalk.

“If it’s just not safe, or if the sidewalk is shut down for construction or something like that; it’s just going to have to be some common sense in there to view if it’s practical or not,” Musson said.

There are also laws for both pedestrians and drivers at crosswalks.

“If there are assigned marked crosswalks or even at an intersection, an intersection would indicate that that’s a crosswalk whether there’s white lines there or not. That’s considered a crosswalk and if a pedestrian is in that crosswalk, then vehicles need to yield the right of way to that pedestrian” Musson said.

It’s recommended that pedestrians run or walk against traffic and keep an eye on the road.

“Keep your head on a swivel. Understand that especially if you’re coming up to an intersection that looks slick for you as a runner, imagine what it is for a car that’s coming up to the same intersection. Don’t assume they’re going to stop and be ready,” said Montana Highway Patrol Sgt. Pat McLaughlin.

Motorists always need to be cautious when passing a pedestrian on the side of the road.

“If they see a pedestrian on the side road, they need to slow down and drive safely and if possible and practical than they can move over a little bit,” Musson said.

Law enforcement suggests that if both the sidewalk and side of the road are icy, it’s safer for pedestrians on the sidewalk.

Reporting by Carson Vickroy for MTN News