I am on my neighborhood message board, and there have been a lot of messages flying around recently about the crosswalks in our neighborhood that access the local park. They are marked with big white stripes, they have Ped Xing signs next to them, and the local MUD painted “PED XING AHEAD” on the street. Fine.

A rather vocal subset of the neighborhood believes that all those markings mean that drivers must stop if they see somebody standing on the side of the street waiting to cross. I say, bollocks. Here’s what the law says:

Sec. 552.003. PEDESTRIAN RIGHT-OF-WAY AT CROSSWALK. (a) The operator of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing a roadway in a crosswalk if:

(1) no traffic control signal is in place or in operation; and

(2) the pedestrian is:

(A) on the half of the roadway in which the vehicle is traveling; or

(B) approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.

(b) Notwithstanding Subsection (a), a pedestrian may not suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and proceed into a crosswalk in the path of a vehicle so close that it is impossible for the vehicle operator to yield.

The way I read this, I only have to yield if the pedestrian is already in the street, not waiting to cross. To wit, “yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing a roadway in a crosswalk if...” Hell, it even sounds like the driver doesn’t have to stop if the pedestrian is on the other half of the road from the one the car is driving on. I’m happy to stop as a courtesy, and many do, but I’m not sure that there should be tickets written, as one member of the group is advocating.

Update: One of the members of the board is a Travis County Deputy. He posted the following:

What Diane said is the law. As a pedestrian, cars only have to stop if you are in the crosswalk. The intent to cross means nothing and as a curtiousy [sic; “courtesy”] sometimes cars will stop. If ever someone is in the crosswalk, and I don’t mean you stepped out in front of traffic, please try to get the license plate and I sure get someone to issue the drive a citation. I’ll need the L.P., date and time. Also good would be a description of the vehicle and driver, if possible.