Pedestrian Traffic Law

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Michigan Pedestrian Traffic Laws


In 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.

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident in Michigan, please contact us.  We will be happy to answer all of your questions and help you if you have been involved in a Michigan pedestrian accident and no-fault benefits.

Michigan Vehicle Codes Pertaining to Pedestrians


Section 257 Michigan Motor Vehicles Code

  • Traffic Signals – Pedestrians and drivers alike are required to be aware of and follow traffic control signals. Red and yellow arrow indicators, crosswalk signs, pavement markings, and other traffic signals provide safe methods of traffic flow for both drivers and pedestrians. Always be aware of designated pedestrian crossing areas.
  • School Zones – School zones are a particularly busy area for pedestrians and drivers should be aware of marked school speed zones and times of operation. Drivers and pedestrians must obey all electronic signals as well as those from crossing guard personnel. Drivers should pay particular attention when approaching school zones, even when normal school is suspended or dismissed. After-school and summer programs are numerous and pedestrians can still be present.
  • Emergency Workers – Special codes provide protection for emergency workers, solid waste collection personnel, utility service personnel, and road maintenance personnel along the roadways. When workers and/or their vehicles are present, drivers should exercise special caution regarding speed and vigilance. Stiff penalties can be imposed on drivers who ignore workers along the roadside because of their vulnerability to injury.
  • Pedestrians Prohibited – Pedestrian traffic is specifically prohibited on certain highways and limited access highways. Such thoroughfares contain large volumes of high-speed traffic and are unsuitable for pedestrians. Only emergency pedestrian traffic is allowed, such as a case of vehicular breakdown or accident.

Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way?


In short, pedestrians do not always have the right of way in traffic. Vehicles must yield to pedestrians and bicyclists in crosswalks, but pedestrians must follow the traffic signals alerting them of when crossing is acceptable. Michigan’s laws regarding pedestrians and traffic have three transparent points:

  1. Pedestrians cannot legally enter a crosswalk when the signal still alerts them not to walk.
  2. Drivers must yield for pedestrians, even if the light turns green while someone is still in the crosswalk.
  3. Drivers making right or left-hand turns at intersections must yield to pedestrians using the crosswalk.

Violating the right-of-way laws can result in severe injuries, leaving pedestrians with substantial financial, emotional and physical repercussions.

What Are Exceptional Circumstances You Should Consider?


Most people know the general rule of not crossing when the “don’t walk” signal flashes. However, consider some common situations where pedestrians may question if they have the right of way. For example, most crosswalk signals in Michigan flash to alert pedestrians of a signal change. You cannot start to cross when the signal begins to flash because vehicular traffic will soon have the right of way. However, you are still lawfully crossing if the signal starts to flash while you cross the street.

Sidewalks are another critical element of pedestrian safety. In Michigan, pedestrians cannot walk along a road or highway when a sidewalk is present. Therefore, if the sidewalk is there, you must use it. In the absence of a sidewalk, pedestrians must walk on the left side and face traffic. Additionally, pedestrians cannot block, impede or obstruct traffic without the authority to do so, and motorists must abide by the same law.

What Happens When a Pedestrian Suffers Injuries in an Accident Caused by a Negligent Driver in Michigan?


Auto accident laws in Michigan protect motorists and pedestrians in the event of an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. For example, if a driver struck you at a crosswalk when you had the right of way, your personal injury protection insurance or theirs should cover your damages. However, under certain circumstances, you can file a fault-based claim.

Michigan’s No-Fault Auto Insurance Coverage

Michigan and only a few other states require all drivers to purchase personal injury protection insurance as part of the state-mandated auto insurance coverages. In the event of an accident, PIP insurance will cover pedestrians injured by the policyholder’s vehicle.

PIP insurance covers the cost of all necessary medical care directly related to the accident and up to 85% of any income lost because of your injuries. It will also provide $20 per day for any services needed during recovery, such as household care or childcare, if you cannot perform specific tasks because of injuries.

Fault-Based Claims in Michigan

Given their vulnerability, pedestrians are much more likely to sustain severe injuries in an auto accident. If you suffer serious injuries, you can bypass the Michigan no-fault insurance requirement and file a fault-based claim with the responsible party’s insurance or a lawsuit for additional damages, such as pain and suffering.

To qualify for stepping outside the no-fault system, your claim must meet one of the following requirements:

  • You suffered severe disfigurement or impairment.
  • The accident occurred in a different state.
  • The at-fault driver is not a Michigan resident.
  • The driver must be at least 50% liable for $1,000 or less in property damage your insurance does not cover.

Michigan auto accident laws offer pedestrians who are victims of negligent drivers multiple avenues to compensation. Additionally, a pedestrian accident lawyer can answer any questions you have regarding the details of your case.

Contact Our Michigan Pedestrian Accident Lawyers


Mike Morse Law Firm has helped Michigan accident victims since 1995.  If you have been injured in a Michigan pedestrian accident, please contact us for help.  Pedestrians have legal rights, request a free consultation for us to help you defend yours.

Pedestrian Traffic Law

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