Posted on: May 26, 2013 - 9:45am
As the Traffic Enforcement Officer in Bedford, I get a lot of complaints about people not stopping for pedestrians trying to cross the road. I can assure you that when our officers see a violation of the law, they pull the vehicle over and issue citations. The tricky part is, "When they see a violation of the law."
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 89 Section 11 states, "When traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way, slowing down or stopping if need be so to yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk marked in accordance with standards established by the department of highways if the pedestrian is on that half of the traveled part of the way on which the vehicle is traveling or if the pedestrian approaches from the opposite half of the traveled part of the way to within 10 feet of that half of the traveled part of the way on which said vehicle is traveling."
The above statement means that if the pedestrian is not in the crosswalk, the police officer cannot pull a vehicle over that does not stop for the pedestrian. If the pedestrian is standing on the sidewalk and not in the roadway, we cannot pull the vehicle over. I know this may sound like we are splitting hairs, but there is something in the United States of America called the Constitution and there is the 4th Amendment which basically says that we cannot seize (stop) you unless you break a law.
We also get people who try to cross in a cross-walk on a bicycle. If you do not fully get off the bicycle before you try to cross, you are not a pedestrian, you are a bicyclist. If you would like to be considered a pedestrian, you will need to dismount your bicycle and walk your bicycle across the crosswalk.
Please, if we all just show a little courtesy and be mindful of people who are trying to cross the street, it will make everyone's life a little easier. Their's because they will get across the street safely and your's because you will not be pulled over and given a fine or you will not injure or kill someone.
Please drive safely and remember to always buckle-up!
Bedford Police Department
2 Mudge WayBedford, MA 01730
(781) 275-1212 (Non-emergency)
(781) 533-9398 (Media Line)