Car vs. Pedestrian: A Not So Gentle Reminder Of Maine Law

Real Estate Agent with Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group

Here in Maine, we generally like to take things at a slower pace.  However, even here, there are days when you see some folks rushing about doing "things that make you go hmmmm."  Yesterday was one of those days for me.  With school starting and more kiddos on the sidewalks, and the events of yesterday, I realized a review of Maine pedestrian/vehicle laws and practicalities was in order.

While traveling up Court Street in Auburn, a 25mph road heading through a residential neighborhood, I could see up ahead a group of teenagers waiting patiently to cross.  I was at least 250 feet away, and the last bit of traffic coming in the other direction had just passed so I slowed and then stopped anticipating that they may take this moment to cross.  They did.  Then, bounding over the crest of the hill, came a speeding car.  I know the driver must have seen the kids crossing because he blasted his horn all the way down the hill.  The teens were forced to stop in the middle of the road and let the car pass.  At first, I thought that maybe the car's brakes were not functioning, but then I noticed that he was able to come to a stop at the intersection below.

pedestrians in MaineREMINDER TO DRIVERS!!!!!!


Pedestrians in crosswalks have the right of way in Maine!  You are required to stop (in either direction) until they have fully crossed the street.

AND guess what?  Even if a pedestrian is not in a crosswalk, you are required to "exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian."

No, these kids were not in a crosswalk.  Why?  Because there are no crosswalks in that area.  Crosswalks are nice, but we shouldn't need little stripes on the road in order to have consideration for others and use our own common sense to avoid hitting pedestrians.

On the flip side, these kids seemed to realize the same thing that I always tell my son.  Even if you are in a crosswalk, when car meets pedestrian, the pedestrian loses.  So let's show a little common sense and common decency on both sides.

I can just see how this one would have played out in court if the kids hadn't been so quick to react and avoid a horrific scene.

Driver:  "Your honor, they were not in a crosswalk."

Judge:  "Did you see the children crossing the road?"

Driver:  "Yes, but they were not in a crosswalk."

Judge:  "Did you have time to safely stop when you saw the children crossing the road?"

Driver:  "Yes, but they were not in a crosswalk"

Judge:  "Did you know that your half ton truck traveling at 35mph would most likely kill and at least injure the children crossing the road if you struck them?"

Driver:  "Yes, but....

Judge:  "So you saw the children, you had plenty of time to safely stop and avoid hitting them, you knew you could kill them, and you chose to keep going anyway?"

CASE CLOSED, and welcome to your new cell for the next 10-20 years!

Posted by

The Maine Real Estate Network - Kristen Wheatley - Lewiston-Auburn Maine Real Estate

Maine Realtor Kristen Wheatley  

Kristen Wheatley is a Maine Realtor working and living in Central Maine.  She specializes in the sale of residential and investment property in the Lewiston-Auburn area and surrounding towns.  Kristen uses the latest tools and mobile technology to provide a superior experience and results for her clients and enjoys sharing these technology skills and teaching other real estate professionals and local small business owners.

The Maine Real Estate NetworkKristen Wheatley, Associate Broker
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34 Center Street - Auburn ME 04210

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Comments (9)

Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

IMHO * if they are BIG and ROLLING, get out of the way...I am not arguing with it...I'll move!

Aug 29, 2012 12:46 AM
Kristen Wheatley
Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group - Brunswick, ME
Supporting Success - Best Job in the World!

So true Wallace.  That is exactly what these wise kids did.  Pedestrians always loose when it is car vs. pedestrian.  However, that driver will loose as well while they are sitting in jail thinking about the lives they took.  A loose/loose all around.

Aug 29, 2012 12:51 AM
Lisa Hicks
Hoang Realty - Augusta, ME
Serving Central and Southern Maine

People in the road should ALWAYS have the right of way to a vehicle...even if they aren't in a crossswalk.  You are so a contest between a vehicle and a pedestrian nobody wins.

Aug 29, 2012 01:05 AM
Kristen Wheatley
Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group - Brunswick, ME
Supporting Success - Best Job in the World!

Yup!  And as we head into winter, people need to remember this too.  There will be times when sidewalks are impassable and pedestrians will be forced to walk along the sides of the road.  Just another little tid bit to drivers:  Maine law allows pedestrians to walk on the side of the road when the sidewalks are blocked AND drivers must yield and "exercise due care" to avoid them.  I almost had a heart attack when I saw that car coming down the hill.  I was so relieved when the kids stopped in time.  One even had to jump back a bit.  I wonder if the driver thinks getting to that red light quicker was worth the risk.

Aug 29, 2012 01:12 AM
Lynda White
Bluegrass Homes & Farms Realty, Agent Know How - Louisville, KY
Admin. Mgr., Keller Williams Realty

Kristen, I have seen a spike of pedestrian injuries and deaths. People on foot AND in cars are in such a hurry these days! "Just slow down and follow the road rules and everyone will be fine," I want to scream sometimes. It is scary to drive anymore.


Aug 29, 2012 02:26 AM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Great reminder, Kristin. Pedestrians have the right of way here in California, too. Every intersection is considered a pedestrian crossing unless signed otherwise. BUT---a pedestrian will ALWAYS LOSE to a vehicle.

Aug 29, 2012 10:34 AM
Kristen Wheatley
Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group - Brunswick, ME
Supporting Success - Best Job in the World!

It is rare to see problems here with pedestrians and cars which is one of the reasons it scared me so much the other day.  My faith in driver's was restored yesterday when I was behind 2 cars that seemed to be racing each other.  Up ahead, a man pushing a stroller waiting in the median to cross.  I thought, "oh, boy, here we go again."  However, this time, both cars dutifully stopped and let him pass.  They seemd to stop racing after that as well which was a good thing since up around the next corner, there was a police crusier sitting in the median.

Aug 29, 2012 11:01 PM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Kristen:  What a complete jerk that driver was.  Since it sounds like he might have been speeding... I wonder if you thought about calling 911 about him?  Sooner or later this clown is going to hit somebody.  I just know it.

Great post, and a great reminder.

Sep 05, 2012 11:58 AM
Kristen Wheatley
Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group - Brunswick, ME
Supporting Success - Best Job in the World!

I think I was so shocked that it didn't dawn on me to do that, but you're right.  Without a lot of crime, our police here really don't have a lot to do, so they tend to patrol heavily and respond very quickly.

Sep 06, 2012 12:07 AM