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Ask a Trooper

Posted: Monday, July 02, 2001

Question: I have seen numerous pedestrians cross the street at intersections without even looking. They just assume they have the right of way. Does Alaska have any pedestrian laws?

Answer: Yes, Alaska has several laws regarding pedestrians, mostly in 13 AAC 02.155 and 160. The one that most closely answers your question states a pedestrian crossing a roadway outside of a marked crosswalk must yield the right of way to oncoming vehicles.

Another related law says you may not leave a curb or other place of safety to walk in front of a vehicle that is so close that it causes an immediate hazard.

However, the driver of a vehicle must yield the right of way to a pedestrian who is on a sidewalk, roadway or in a crosswalk when the pedestrian is on the same side of the road as the vehicle.

What it comes down to is who was there first. The pedestrian may not walk in front of a closely approaching vehicle, but if they already are crossing when the car approaches, the driver must yield the right of way.

The law also states that when sidewalks are not available, pedestrians must walk as far past the edge of the road as they can, and they must walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic. This allows them to see and respond to any oncoming cars, and it allows the drivers to more easily recognize them as people in Alaska's dimly lit conditions.

If you have questions you would like to ask a trooper, please send them to: Alaska State Troopers, 4060 Heath St., Homer, AK 99603. Or you can e-mail them to Chad_Goeden@dps.state.ak.us. The Alaska State Troopers remind you to always wear your seat belt. It's the law.



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