Lesser Known Traffic Laws of Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia

By Peter DePaolis

As we discussed last week, the D.C. metro area is one of the most dangerous parts of the country for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Because of this, our injury attorneys are proud to support Street Smart, a public education, awareness and behavioral campaign in the D.C., suburban Maryland and northern Virginia area.

Lesser-Known Traffic Laws

As part of the campaign, you should know that each state has laws that tailor to pedestrians and bicyclists. Some of the lesser-known traffic laws in each state include:


  • Pedestrians are not allowed to leave a curb, safety platform, safety zone, loading platform or other designated place of safety to turn into the path of a vehicle
  • Pedestrians are not allowed to cross in the direction of a “Don’t Walk” signal.
  • All drivers should stop and give right-of-way to pedestrians who have begun crossing on “Walk” signals
  • There are no laws against people riding bicycles on the sidewalk, as long as the rider does not create a hazard and is not in the Central Business District
  • When in use at night, a bicycle must be equipped with a white lamp on the front and a red reflector on the rear


  • If a pedestrian crosses a roadway at any point other than in a marked crosswalk, he or she must yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching
  • If a sidewalk is provided, a pedestrian may not walk along an adjacent roadway
  • When proceeding on a green signal, drivers turning must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within crosswalks
  • All bicyclists must obey traffic signs and pavement markings, just as motor vehicle operators do


  • When crossing highways, pedestrians shall not interfere with the orderly passage of vehicles
  • If an intersection does not contain a crosswalk, pedestrians shall not be guilty of negligence as a matter of law, if they cross the road by the most direct route
  • Drivers must yield the right-of-way of any pedestrian at any clearly marked crosswalk or any intersection where the speed limit does not exceed 35 mph
  • Every person riding a bicycle on a highway is subject to motor vehicle laws
  • Bicyclists must ride as close as possible to the right of a curb or edge of the roadway, unless there are hazards or conditions forcing them away from it

Contacting our Virginia, Maryland and D.C. Pedestrian and Bicycle Accident Attorneys

If you are involved in a bicycle or pedestrian accident, or your loved one has been killed, you should contact our injury attorneys in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. We can investigate your case and determine if negligence played a role in the incident.

To learn more, you can visit the Street Smart website by clicking on the source link below.

You can reach us by clicking on the live chat option on this page.

Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP

Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia Injury Attorneys

Source: http://www.bestreetsmart.net/laws.php

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.