Various traffic signals and other laws or designations are designed to protect motorists and pedestrians using Chicago’s roadways.
These lines on roadway surfaces designate where pedestrians can legally cross the street. Without these marked crosswalks, pedestrians are prohibited from crossing the road or between intersections where appropriate signage also exists.
Public Pedestrian Tunnels and Bridges
Pedestrians are restricted from crossing limited-access streets or highways. When crossing these roadways is necessary, pedestrians must use marked crosswalks and constructed facilities, such as tunnels or bridges designated for pedestrian crossing by signs or fencing.
Railroad Grade Crossings and Bridges
Pedestrians cannot cross around, over, under, or through any gate or barrier that is closed or opening or closing at a railroad grade crossing or bridge.
Walking Along Roadways
If sidewalks aren’t provided, pedestrians must walk only on the left side of the roadway or the shoulder facing traffic approaching from the opposite direction.
Pedestrians are subject to the same restrictions and allowances set forth by traffic-control signals adhered to by motorists.
Pedestrians Yielding Right-of-Way
When crossing roadways at points not marked by a crosswalk, pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to motorists.
Pedestrians’ Duty to Exercise Reasonable Care
Despite the foregoing laws designed to keep pedestrians safe on roadways and at crossings, people traveling by foot are expected to exercise due care to ensure their safety.
Tips to stay safe as a walker include:
- “See and Be Seen.” Wear light or bright-colored clothing, use a flashlight during nighttime hours, wear reflective clothing or retro-reflective items in the evening, and be mindful of the lower angle of the winter sun that creates shadows and decreases your visibility to drivers.
- Wear proper footwear that improves balance.
- Use paths designated for walking whenever possible.
- Be mindful of blind spots.
- Plan routes with clearly defined crossings.
- Look both ways before crossing.
- Always look to your left last.
- Don’t rely fully on traffic signals because some drivers fail to follow them.
- Leave yourself enough time to cross a roadway safely or wait for the next designated crossing time. Begin crossing with a “fresh green” signal.
- Be overly cautious at intersections. You are most at risk when you first step off the curb.
- Watch for drivers making turns. Be sure to look in front of you, behind you, and to both sides of you when crossing.
- Understand and follow crosswalk signals.
- Look for hazards in parking lots.