Monday, February 10, 2014

Illinois Law Says Drivers Should Stop and Yield to Pedestrians in Crosswalks.

by Jim Freeman

The video below shows a family trying to negotiate a marked crosswalk spanning Armitage Avenue.  They approach the crosswalk as a team.  The woman goes first, trying to get traffic to yield, while the man walks their child behind.  The woman points to the crosswalk and indicates a desire to cross.

What you can't see, just out of frame, is that the driver of the blue car reluctantly comes to a stop just inches away from the lady, immediately rolls his window down and starts yelling while edging forward in a threatening manner.  It all happened really quickly, but the driver's intent was clear. 

The driver of that blue car should be ashamed of himself.  He not only had no right to be mad at the pedestrians, but he had an absolute duty to stop and yield to them.  The Illinois Motor Vehicle code requires drivers to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.  625 ILCS 5/11-1002 states in relevant part, "...the driver of a vehicle shall stop and yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk..."             
If a driver strikes someone in a marked crosswalk they should be expect to be sued for any injuries that arise from that collision.  If their insurance is insufficient to cover the judgement they will probably be held personally accountable for the difference.  The driver could not only be sued, but could be ruined financially and forced into bankruptcy.  The driver will also risk being charged with criminal violations relating to the accident.

If you or anyone you know is ever struck by a car while cross the street in a crosswalk please give us a call.  We enjoy sticking up for vulnerable roadway users, and we love holding negligent or wanton drivers accountable for their actions.      


  1. Can you get his plate number from the video?

  2. Jim,

    My understanding was that there was a stipulation that it had to be 'reasonably safe' for the driver to to stop in a marked crosswalk. Can you address that?

    What I mean is that if a car is doing an honest 30mph and a ped pops into the intersection it could be unreasonable for the driver to stop on a dime, accident or not.

    FYI, I'd like to stop at those crosswalks for peds but I fear getting rear-ended by the car behind me.

    Also, there is confusion regarding unmarked crosswalks. that is, drivers seem to stop at the 'state law' marked crosswalks, but because there are other crosswalks without the 'state law' signs drivers may feel that there is no state law to stop at those crosswalks.

    Is that true or does the state law apply to all marked crosswalks regardless of the presence of a 'state law' sign?


    1. Crosswalks should be treated as yield signs. You need to be prepared to stop. If you cannot tell if there is a person in a crosswalk or not, you need to slow down until you are sure.

    2. Mark this up to the poor quality of the Illinois driving test. There is an "implied" crosswalk at any and all intersections, except those which are explicitly posted to the contrary.

    3. Vehicles should be driven at a speed that would safely allow the driver to stop and yield to pedestrians lawfully crossing the road in a marked or unmarked crosswalk regardless of whether or not the "state law" sign is present.

  3. Just want to clarify that when I say "You need to be prepared to stop" I am referring to people in cars who need to be prepared to stop, not pedestrians. Pedestrians should be able to confidently cross a street in a crosswalk without being worried.

  4. Thank you for all for the response. I agree the Illinois driving test is poor and there should be a pedestrian & cycle component to it.

    So from a legal perspective, if there is a marked crosswalk I have the right to blindly walk into it, regardless of traffic, and if a car touches me it is their fault?

  5. I found this on Everyblock:

    Looks like section (b) says peds cant just pop into the intersection and assume traffic should stop for them.

    The right of way at crosswalks, extracted from the Illinois Vehicle Code, Rules of the Road, 625 ILCS 5/11-1002
    Sec. 11-1002.
    Pedestrians' right-of-way at crosswalks.
    (a) When traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation the driver of a vehicle shall stop and yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.
    ***(b) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a moving vehicle which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.
    (c) Paragraph (a) shall not apply under the condition stated in Section 11-1003 (b).
    (d) Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.
    (e) Whenever stop signs or flashing red signals are in place at an intersection or at a plainly marked crosswalk between intersections, drivers shall yield right-of-way to pedestrians as set forth in Section 11-904 of this Chapter.
    (Source: P.A. 96-1165, eff. 7-22-10.) - See more at:

  6. And Peter, Jim,

    I'm not sure when you say "should" if you are referring to the letter of the law or your opinion. Not that it matters all that much, I'm just looking for clarity.

  7. What about cyclists stopping for crossing pedestrians?

    Make the "must stop" law apply to ALL VEHICLES ON THE ROAD...INCLUDING BICYCLES.

  8. last saturday i was struck by a lady going 35 mph while i was crossing the street in a crosswalk. she claimed she didnt see me. i ended up in hospital for 4 days, with 2 torn ligaments in my knee, a broken fibula, strained neck and shoulder, bruised ribs and other misc bumps and bruises. it was broad day light, no cars in front of her or for a long way behind her. there was no reason she couldnt have stopped if she was paying attention.

    1. Very sorry to learn about this. Thank you for posting. Please let me know if we can be of assistance. You may email me directly at You can also phone us at 312.629.1901.


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