What Drivers and Walkers Should Know About Grand Rapids Pedestrian Ordinances


In 2019, 2,400 pedestrians were involved in an auto accident in Michigan, with 80% of those people being injured or killed. That is in addition to a report released in 2021 that shows a 20% increase in pedestrian traffic death nationwide. In light of those numbers West Michigan auto accident attorney, Tom Sinas, recently spoke Fox 17’s Know the Law to describe the various Grand Rapids pedestrian ordinances including one that just took effect in 2019, requiring motorists to come to a stop for pedestrians crossing a roadway in a crosswalk.

Here’s what else drivers and pedestrians alike should know.

Grand Rapids Pedestrian Ordinances Require Cars to Stop

As mentioned, drivers are required to stop for pedestrians crossing the road within a crosswalk. Before, they were only required to yield. Furthermore, other motorists are not allowed to pass automobiles that have stopped for pedestrians. Watch for pedestrian crosswalk stop signs, as they continue to pop up all over the city. Be always vigilant and alert, you just might save a life.

Use Sidewalks When Available

First, pedestrians in Grand Rapids need to utilize city sidewalks when they’re available. Doing so decreases the risk of collision with a vehicle using the roadway. However, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. Using the adjacent roadway is allowed when a sidewalk isn’t present or is unsuitable for walking. Pedestrians walking on the side of the road should always walk against traffic. This increases visibility to both fellow drivers and pedestrians alike.

Using Crosswalks and Intersections

If a pedestrian needs to cross the road, the safest place to do so is at an intersection or within a pedestrian crosswalk. Most pedestrian-motor vehicle accidents occur mid-block. When crossing the road, remember to look both ways and proceed with caution and when your route is free to proceed.

Pedestrian and Motor Vehicle Collisions – Changes to No-Fault Law

If someone has been hit by a car several things can happen. For the driver, if they failed to stop and violated the ordinance, they may get a civil infraction or a ticket. More importantly, however, the striking motorist is also likely liable in a civil case due to negligence. What this means, is due to changes in the no-fault auto law system, an at-fault driver can also be liable for the medical expenses of a not-at-fault party. The liability depends on whether the victim has a no-fault policy that covers their medical expenses or only covers some of their care costs. The motorist at fault in the crash can also be responsible for liability claims such as loss of quality of life, and pain and suffering.

Pedestrian and Motor Vehicle Collisions – Changes to No-Fault Law

In part a safety reminder to the public, Tom Sinas also discussed the changes to Michigan’s auto no-fault law and how those changes impact pedestrian collisions on Fox 17 “Know the Law.” In short, the overhaul of Michigan’s auto no-fault system that went into effect in 2019 with phasing in over the years since, has created a situation where motorists, for the first time ever, can be liable for a victim’s medical expenses. That liability depends on what kind of no-fault insurance the pedestrian has. Additionally, the motorist can be found liable for the pedestrian’s quality of life damages. Quality of life damages includes things such as pain and suffering, which are pursued through a liability claim against the motorist. Pedestrians without insurance must now apply for benefits in a new and more complicated way, including claims through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan.

If you’ve been injured as the result of a collision with a motor vehicle, call to speak with a personal injury attorney at Sinas Dramis Law Firm at (517) 394-7500. We will work diligently to obtain the compensation your case deserves