When Do Pedestrians Have Right of Way in Kentucky?

A Comprehensive Guide to Kentucky’s Pedestrian Laws

Pedestrian Laws at Dedicated Crossings (Intersections, Marked Crosswalks, and Unmarked Crosswalks)

Kentucky law states that pedestrians within dedicated crossings have the right of way. Drivers are required to slow down or stop for pedestrians, and not allowed to pass drivers who have stopped for pedestrians.

That being said, pedestrians are required to follow all traffic indicators. They are not allowed to cross at intersections where there are traffic lights if they haven’t been given the signal to cross. 


At Intersections without a Crossing Signal

When a pedestrian is a traffic light that does not have a dedicated pedestrian crossing signal, pedestrians are to follow the traffic signals as follows and with caution:

  • At a Round Green Light: Pedestrians are allowed to proceed when faced with a round green light.
  • At a Green Arrow: If the pedestrian is on the left-hand side of the road and the indicator is a green left-hand arrow, the pedestrian may not cross. The same is true if the pedestrian is on the right-hand side of the road and is faced with a right-hand green arrow.
  • At a Yellow Light: Yellow lights indicate that the light is about to turn red. This means that there isn’t enough time for a pedestrian to cross the street safely, so pedestrians are not allowed to enter an intersection when faced with a yellow light.
  • At a Red Light: Pedestrians are not allowed to cross the street when faced with a red light.


At Places Other Than Designated Crossings

The Kentucky laws regarding pedestrians in areas other than designated crossings changes depending on the exact area. 

  • On the Road When Crossing: Pedestrians do not have the right of way on sections of roadways that are not designated crossings. When they are crossing the street, pedestrians are to cross at a right angle to the sidewalk, making their path as direct as possible to the other side. 
  • On the Road When a Sidewalk Isn’t Available: When a pedestrian is walking on the road because a sidewalk is unavailable, they are to walk on the left hand side of the road, as far from traffic as possible.
  • On the Road When a Sidewalk is Available: Pedestrians are not allowed to walk on the road when there is an open and accessible sidewalk available.
  • On the Sidewalk: The pedestrian always has the right of way over a vehicle on the sidewalk. The driver must always yield.


General Rules Regarding Pedestrians

  • Despite the legal right of way, drivers are to always remain cautious and aware of pedestrians to avoid collisions. 
  • Pedestrians are not allowed to enter roadways suddenly and without warning.
  • Pedestrians are not allowed to cross over, under, or around barriers protecting railroads or operating bridges.
  • Drivers are to yield right of way to blind pedestrians. Blind pedestrians can be identified by their use of a guide dog or a visible white cane.

If a collision has occurred and a pedestrian was injured, the driver is required to remain on the scene and alert the authorities.

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