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Rhode Island's Pedestrian Laws

Many people assume that pedestrians always have the right of way, but this is not the case. If you are a Rhode Island resident or just here visiting our beautiful state, you should familiarize yourself and obey our state’s pedestrian traffic laws R.I.G.L. § 31-18-3 so that you can keep you and your family safe.

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For important safety tips, please click here.

Below is a summary of Rhode Island’s pedestrian laws:


  • All pedestrians must follow traffic control signals.

  • If there is no traffic signal but there is a crosswalk, then the pedestrian does have the right of way. The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way, slow down or stop if need be to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway within the crosswalk. However, no pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle so that it is impossible for the driver to yield.

  • When a pedestrian is crossing outside of the crosswalk, cars have the right of way. Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway. In all situations, drivers must exercise “due care” to avoid colliding with pedestrians and bicyclists.

  • When there is a sidewalk available, pedestrians may not walk in the road except to cross.

  • In areas with no sidewalks, any person walking, jogging, or running shall, when practicable, walk, jog or run only on the left side of the roadway or facing traffic.

  • Under no circumstances shall anyone walk, run, or jog on any interstate highway.

  • Any person jogging or running during the time from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise, shall, wear reflective material, which is visible by low beam headlamps from a distance of at least five hundred feet (500').

It is important to note that violations of these laws are subject to fines. 

If you were hit by a motor vehicle, contact Personal Injury Attorney Ann Sheeley for a free consultation. Our firm has years of experience representing pedestrians that were injured. Accidents can take a major toll on your life. You can count on Sheeley Law to stand by your side, be a strong advocate, and seek full compensation for your losses and personal injury.

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