Utah Pedestrian Laws You Should Know

Posted on February 24, 2023

Walking to destinations within the community is a positive choice for our own health and the health of the environment. No one expects to be injured while out walking to run errands, walk a dog, or just enjoy the fresh air and exercise. Sadly, 10.7% of accident fatalities in Utah involve pedestrians. When a collision occurs between an unprotected human being and a 4,000-pound vehicle, the results can be catastrophic. Utah’s pedestrian laws are meant to protect both pedestrians and drivers from the unthinkable. But first, it’s important to familiarize yourself with these important laws whether you walk, drive, or both.

Understanding Right of Way in Utah Pedestrian Law

According to Utah traffic laws, pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks when they are on the side of the road in which a vehicle is passing or close enough to the vehicle’s lane to endanger them while crossing. In all school zone crosswalks, vehicles approaching from both directions must stop if any person is in the crosswalk while the school speed limit warning signs are flashing.

Any pedestrian crossing a roadway without using a crosswalk does NOT have the right of way but instead must yield to traffic approaching in either direction. If there is a crosswalk present with traffic signals in an intersection the pedestrian must use the crosswalk and the pedestrian push button. It’s an infraction for pedestrians to cross elsewhere when there is a crosswalk, pedestrian tunnel, or overhead pedestrian walkway within 700 feet.

Important Pedestrian Laws in Utah

Besides understanding the right of way in pedestrian law, Utah residents must also familiarize themselves with the following traffic rules for vehicles and pedestrians:

  • Regardless of the right of way, drivers have the responsibility to take the utmost care to avoid a collision whenever a pedestrian is present
  • Drivers must not block crosswalks with their vehicle
  • Drivers must yield to pedestrians on a sidewalk before crossing
  • Drivers in both directions must stop when a school bus displays flashing lights while coming to a stop at a bus stop and must not accelerate until the bus has stopped flashing its lights
  • Pedestrians must not walk on the shoulder of the road wherever sidewalks are available
  • If no sidewalk is present, pedestrians must walk on the shoulder of the road on the left side while facing traffic
  • Pedestrians must not group on sidewalks or otherwise block other pedestrians
  • Pedestrians should never breach a railroad crossing bar when it’s closed or while it’s closing or opening
  • All intersections with sidewalks include legal crosswalks at the ends of the sidewalks even if no painted lines are present

Additional Safety Tips for Pedestrians

One of the most common pedestrian accidents occurs when a driver is making a right turn and facing traffic approaching from the right and fails to see a pedestrian approaching from the left. For this reason, pedestrians should make eye contact with the driver before crossing in front of the vehicle to be certain the driver sees them.

Even when a pedestrian has the right of way, they should never step in front of moving traffic if cars are too close to stop safely.

Pedestrians should wear reflective clothing when walking after dark.

By carefully following all pedestrian laws in Utah, both drivers and pedestrians can minimize the deadly risk of a collision.