It’s fairly common to see joggers running in the street. We also see pedestrians crossing in the middle of the street instead of at the crosswalk. It’s usually a matter of comfort or convenience. However, if a sidewalk is present, are joggers and pedestrians legally obligated to use it? And what are the consequences, if they don’t?
I spoke with Cornelius Chief of Police Kevin Black and he sent me the following information from the North Carolina traffic laws:
A jogger can be issued a ticket for failing to use a sidewalk when one is available
This charge can be enforced by any law enforcement officer with jurisdiction in Cornelius. The fine, if charged, can be up to $100.00 plus court cost ($188.00) for a total of $288.00.
Commonly ignored North Carolina pedestrian traffic rules:
When crossing the road at any point other than a crosswalk, a pedestrian must yield right of way to all vehicles.
When walking along or upon a highway, a pedestrian must yield right of way to all vehicles.
A pedestrian must keep a lookout for vehicles before and while crossing a highway.
A pedestrian must walk facing traffic on roads where there is no sidewalk; it is illegal to walk on the road if a sidewalk is available.
A pedestrian is legally bound to obey traffic control signals, in particular WALK / DON’T WALK indicators at crosswalks.
If you disobey these rules, you may be liable
The consequences of the pedestrian/jogger failing to meet their obligation of following the law is liability. Pedestrians/joggers have a duty to act reasonably and cautiously when walking in a public place.
If a pedestrian/jogger fails in their duty, then the pedestrian/jogger may be partially or completely liable for causing a crash. If the pedestrian/jogger is found liable they may be responsible for the cost of their medical treatment for injuries sustained and for any damages caused to the vehicle as a result of the crash.
It is very important for the safety of the pedestrian/jogger to follow all relevant North Carolina traffic laws. If pedestrians/joggers meet this obligation they have a sound legal footing should they become an accident victim.
“Throughout the Town there are many areas that don’t have sidewalks. Many people are advocating for more sidewalks. Sidewalks are there for the safety of pedestrians and vehicles. If there is a sidewalk, you should use the sidewalk.”
—Cornelius Chief of Police Kevin Black