Over the past couple of days, I've had a couple of pedestrians "dart" out in front of me. As I slam on my brakes, I'm the one who gets the dirty looks.

During the near messy encounters, I was in the right of way. The first, two "gentlemen" walked out from behind a van parked on the side of the road. They were yards away from the crosswalk and I had the green light.

The second, a couple of high schoolers walked against a red crosswalk signal as I was making a left-hand turn. Again, I had the green light.

Colorado's laws are crafted to protect the pedestrian. That doesn't make them infallible, though.

The Colorado Law for drivers reads:

  • Drivers must yield the right of way when pedestrians are within the same half of a crosswalk as the vehicle.
  • This law also applies to stop signs or flashing red lights regardless of whether or not the traffic signals are working or missing entirely.
  • If a vehicle has stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway, whether, at a marked or unmarked crosswalk, a driver may not pass or go around the stopped vehicle.

The Colorado Law for pedestrians reads:

  • At intersections with traffic signals, a pedestrian must use the crosswalk
  • Pedestrians must yield to all vehicles while crossing not using a crosswalk
  • Pedestrians must follow the "Walk" and "Don't Walk" signals
  • Pedestrians must not leave the curb suddenly and walk/run into an oncoming vehicle that could be considered close enough to be hazardous
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Obviously these are just paraphrases of the laws, but they demonstrate the point.

My first encounter with the "gentlemen" crossing from behind the van, a crosswalk was available only a few yards away. With a crosswalk signal. Two different "infractions" if we're getting technical.

The "high schoolers" didn't follow the "Walk" and "Don't Walk" signals.

Pedestrians, it is your responsibility to make sure it's safe to cross. Laws or no laws. You're facing a 4,000-pound moving metal machine. Pretty sure you're not going to win.

Drivers, same goes for you, look out for the pedestrians. It's obvious, neither of us is really paying enough attention.