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Field Services Bureau - Traffic Division

Summary of Maryland Pedestrian Laws

Pedestrian Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility

Pedestrians crossing the street


Each year, many preventable pedestrian-involved collisions occur in Montgomery County.  Oftentimes, the collisions are a result of confusion among both drivers and pedestrians as to their respective responsibilities while traveling on the roadways.  MCPD frequently emphasizes that pedestrian safety is a shared responsibility between everyone who uses the roadways.  In an effort to inform both drivers and pedestrians as to their responsibilities when driving or walking, MCPD is providing the below summary of traffic laws regarding pedestrian safety.  Please review this information and keep the laws in mind when traveling on the roadways.   Remember, safety is everyone’s responsibility!


  • Driver (11-115) – any individual who drives a vehicle.

  • Pedestrian (11-145) – a person on foot on or near a public highway or other place where motor vehicle laws apply.

  • Crosswalk (21-101) – a crosswalk means the part of the roadway that:< >is distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other an extension of the sidewalk across the street at an intersection.



  • Failure to stop for pedestrian in crosswalk (21-502)

    • A driver of a vehicle must come to a complete stop when a pedestrian is crossing the roadway in a crosswalk.

  • Passing a vehicle stopped for a pedestrian (21-502(c))

  • It is unlawful for a driver to pass a vehicle that is stopped for a pedestrian in either a marked or unmarked crosswalk.

  • Vehicles facing a green signal, including any vehicle turning right or left, must yield right-of-way to any pedestrian lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk.

  • Vehicles facing a red signal or red arrow signal must stop at the intersection at the clearly marked stop line or before entering the crosswalk.

  • The driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian, shall warn any pedestrian by sounding a horn, and shall exercise proper precaution on observing any confused or incapacitated pedestrians.

  • Failure to yield right-of-way when turning on green signal (21-202(c))

  • Failure to stop at clearly marked stop line (21-202(h))

  • Failure to exercise due care to avoid hitting a pedestrian (21-504(a,b,c))

  • Special dangers as to pedestrians (21-801(h))< >The driver of a vehicle shall drive at an appropriate reduced speed when any special danger exists as to pedestrians. 


  • Failure to obey red traffic signal (21-202(l))

    • A pedestrian facing a steady red traffic signal may not enter the roadway.

  • Failure to obey pedestrian control signal (21-203(c))

  • A pedestrian may not start to cross the roadway in the direction of a solid “don’t walk” or “upraised hand” signal.

  • If a pedestrian crosses a roadway at any point other than in a marked crosswalk or in an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, the pedestrian shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle.

  • In an intersection where a traffic control signal is in operation, a pedestrian may cross only in a marked crosswalk.

  • A pedestrian may not cross an intersection diagonally unless authorized by a traffic control device.

  • Where a sidewalk is provided, a pedestrian may not walk along or on an adjacent roadway.  Where no sidewalk is provided, a pedestrian may walk only on the left shoulder or on the left side of the roadway facing traffic.

  • Failure to yield right-of-way to vehicle (21-503(a))

  • Failure to cross at signalized intersection (21-503(c))

  • Crossing intersection diagonally (21-503(d))

  • Pedestrian unlawfully on roadway (21-506(a,b))


** Please note that the above information is a summary of definitions and laws.  The complete definitions and laws may be found in The Maryland Vehicle Law Annotated.**


On average, every year more than 100 pedestrians are killed and more than 2.500 pedestrians are injured in Maryland as a result of collisions with motor vehicles.  Look out for each other!

For more Pedestrian Safety information and initiatives, please visit
 the Maryland State Highway Adminstration webpage.

Montgomery County Department of Police · Marcus Jones , Acting Chief
Public Safety Headquarters
100 Edison Park Drive · Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Non-emergency: 301.279.8000
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