Ask a Trooper

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2001

Question: Is it a state law that motorists must stop for pedestrians at designated crosswalks?

Answer: Yes, with a qualifier. Alaska traffic codes contain several sections about pedestrian/ vehicle interactions that try to prevent those interactions from becoming too personal.

13 AAC 02.155 says "when traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian who is on the sidewalk, vehicular way or area, or who is crossing a roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger." Although coming to a complete stop is not mandated, in most cases that is what would be necessary to "yield the right of way." And don't try to pass the car that is stopped for the pedestrian. That is illegal, for obvious reasons. As a general rule, avoid running over pedestrians.

All the responsibility is not on the vehicle driver, however. Several sections of the code dictate the proper actions of pedestrians. Pedestrians may not walk on the roadway (except for crossing) when a sidewalk is provided; when no sidewalk is provided (98.7 percent of Alaska's roadways) pedestrians must walk as far as possible from the edge of the roadway; and "no pedestrian may be upon or along a roadway in such a manner as to create an unreasonable risk of danger to himself or to interfere with the normal flow of traffic." And finally, in case you had any doubt, "no person may sleep upon a highway." We really frown upon people sleeping on the highway.

If you have questions you would like to ask a trooper, send them to Alaska State Troopers, P.O. Box 817, Seward, AK 99664 or e-mail them to Brandon_

The Alaska State Troopers remind you to always wear your seat belt. It's the law.

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