Most new drivers in the U.S. have had to undergo some form of driver education prior to receiving their license. Whether it is an online course to prepare for a written provisional licensure exam or an in-person, behind-the-wheel driving class, new drivers have to be well-versed in the rules of the road to be given the privilege and freedom of operating a motor vehicle.
Below are three scenarios that vehicle operators, both seasoned veterans and rookies alike, will encounter behind the wheel. Do you know who has the right of way?
Cyclist vs. pedestrian
A pedestrian is beginning to cross the street, walking within the crosswalk, as directed by the “Walk” signal being illuminated. Simultaneously, going with the flow of traffic, a bicycle is about to turn right at the green light, into the path of the pedestrian. Should the bicyclist yield to (or stop for) the pedestrian before turning? Or should the pedestrian yield to the bicyclist?
Well, while the law does not clearly define who has the right of way, bicycles are considered vehicles in all 50 states, so it’s best for the cyclist to assume vehicle status and obey motor vehicle traffic laws and stop or yield for pedestrian. There are also additional bicycle laws to ensure the safety of cyclists.
Car vs. pedestrian
A pedestrian in a hurry runs through crosswalk when it says don’t walk, not noticing the car that is heading their way. Does the pedestrian have the right of way, even though they ignored the sign and broke the law?
Despite the driver’s frustration at the unprotected person with a death wish, the pedestrian still has right of way because they used a marked crosswalk at an intersection. The exact details of pedestrians and right of way are outlined differently from state to state. Take a look at the breakdown, here.
Car vs. cyclist
Two cars and one bicycle are approaching a T-intersection. On the main road, or through road, traveling in opposite directions toward the intersecting road, are a bicyclist and one car, each travelling a different speed. The car on the through road passes the intersection as the second car, the one on the intersecting road, approaches and stops at the intersection. The cyclist is still approaching the intersecting road. Should the second car wait for the cyclist to clear the intersection or try to turn out before cyclist gets there?
Wait for the cyclist. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Plus, since the cyclist is on the through road, and a wheeled vehicle, traffic laws apply to this non-motorized form of transportation. Because the cyclist is traveling on a main road, they have the right of way.
Car vs. cyclist (part 2)
In the same scenario listed above, there is a third vehicle, coming up behind the bicyclist. This is a single-lane road, with a double yellow line separating the two directions. There is no bicycle lane and the cyclist is going slower than traffic. Can the car behind the cyclist legally pass the bicycle rider?
The passing of cyclists varies from state to state. The majority of states require a minimum of 3 feet between any automobile and bicyclist to safely pass. It’s best to wait, like the car at the intersecting road ahead, and heed the right of way to the cyclist. Cyclists will sometimes move over to the right to allow cars to safely pass, so as to not impede the flow of traffic.
Regardless of which state you live in, you will want to have some kind of protection against the complexities of the road. Having, at a minimum, liability car insurance is the best way to protect yourself and others on the road in case of an accident. Compare quotes with CoverHound and find your automotive safeguard today.