North Carolina Pedestrian Laws
North Carolina General Statute
Sections Pertaining to Pedestrians
Part 11. Pedestrians' Rights and Duties
Section 20-172. Pedestrians subject to traffic-control signals.
(a) The Board of Transportation, with reference to State highways, and local authorities, with reference to highways under their jurisdiction, are hereby authorized to erect or install, at intersections or other appropriate places, special pedestrian control signals exhibiting the words or symbols "WALK" or "DON"T WALK" as a part of a system of traffic-control signals or devices.
(b) Whenever special pedestrian-control signals are in place, such signals shall indicate as follows:
(1) WALK - Pedestrians facing such signal may proceed across the highway in the direction of the signal and shall be given the right-of-way by the drivers of all vehicles.
(2) DON'T WALK - No pedestrian shall start to cross the highway in the direction of such signal, but any pedestrian who has partially completed his crossing on the "WALK" signal shall proceed to a sidewalk or safety island while the "DON'T WALK" signal is showing. (c) Where a system of traffic-control signals or devices does not include special pedestrian-control signals, pedestrians shall be subject to the vehicular traffic-control signals or devices as they apply to pedestrian traffic. (d) At places without traffic-control signals or devices, pedestrians shall be accorded the privileges and shall be subject to restrictions stated in Part 11 of this article.
(1937, c. 407, s. 133; 1973, c. 507, s. 5; c. 1330, s. 31: 1987, c. 125.)
Section 20-173. Pedestrians' right-of-way at crosswalks.
(a) Where traffic-control signals are not in place or in operation the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any unmarked crosswalk at or near an intersection, except as otherwise provided in part 11 of this Article.
(b) Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.
(c) The driver of a vehicle emerging from or entering an alley, building entrance, private road or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian, or person riding a bicycle, approaching on any sidewalk or walkway extending across such alley, building entrance, road or driveway. (1937, c. 407, s. 134; 1973, c. 1330, s. 32.)
Section 20-174. Crossing at other than crosswalks; walking along highway.
(a) 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. (b) Any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway. (c) Between adjacent intersections at which traffic-control signals are in operation pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk. (d) Where sidewalks are provided, it shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon an adjacent roadway. Where sidewalks are not provided, any pedestrian walking along or upon a highway shall, when practicable, walk only on the extreme left of the roadway or its shoulder facing traffic which may approach from the opposite direction. Such pedestrian shall yield the right-of-way to approaching traffic. (e) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway, and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary, and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any confused or incapacitated person upon a roadway. (1937, c. 407, s. 135; 1973, c. 1330, s. 33.)
Section 20-174.1. Standing, sitting or lying upon highways or streets prohibited.
(a) No person shall willfully stand, sit or lie upon the highway or street in such a manner as to impeded the regular flow of traffic. (b) Violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor. (1965, c. 137; 1969, c. 1012; 1993 (reg. Sess., 1994), c. 761, s. 17.) Section 20-175. Pedestrians soliciting rides, employment, business or funds upon highways or streets. (a) No person shall stand in any portion of the State highways, except upon the shoulders thereof, for the purpose of soliciting a ride from the driver of any motor vehicle. (b) No person shall stand or loiter in the main traveled portion, including the shoulders and median, of any State highway or street, excluding sidewalks, or stop any motor vehicle for the purpose of soliciting employment, business or contributions from the driver or occupant of any motor vehicle that impedes the normal movement of traffic on the public highways or streets: provided that the provisions of this subsection shall not apply to licensees, employees or contractors of the Department of Transportation or of any municipality engaged in construction or maintenance or in making traffic or engineering surveys. (c) Repealed by Session Laws 1973, c. 1330, s. 39. (1937, c. 407, s. 136; 1965, c. 673; 1973, c. 507, s. 5; c. 1330, s. 39; 1977, c. 464, s. 34.)
Part 11A. Blind Pedestrians - White Canes or Guide Dogs.
Section 20-175-1. Public use of white canes by other than blind persons prohibited. it shall be unlawful for any person, except one who is wholly or partially blind, to carry or use on any street or highway, or in any other public place, a cane or walking stick which is white in color or white tipped with red. (1949, c. 324, s. 1.)
Section 20-175.2. Right-of-way at crossings, intersections and traffic-control signal points; white cane or guide dog to serve as signal for the blind.
At any street, road or highway crossing or intersection, where the movement of traffic is not regulated by a traffic officer or by traffic-control signals, any blind or partially blind pedestrian shall be entitled to the right-of-way at such crossing or intersection, if such blind or partially blind pedestrian shall extend before him at arm's length a cane white in color or white tipped with red, or if such person is accompanied by a guide dog. Upon receiving such a signal, all vehicles at or approaching such intersection or crossing shall come to a full stop, leaving a clear lane through which such pedestrian may pass, and such vehicle shall remain stationary until such blind or partially blind pedestrian has completed passage of such crossing or intersection. At any street, road or highway crossing or intersection, where the movement of traffic is regulated by traffic-control signals, blind or partially blind pedestrians shall be entitled to the right-of-way if such person having such cane or accompanied by a guide dog shall be partly across such crossing or intersection at the time the traffic-control signals change, and all vehicles shall stop and remain stationary until such pedestrian has completed passage across the intersection or crossing. (1949, c. 324, s. 2.)
Section 20-175.3. Rights and privileges of blind persons without white cane or guide dog.
Nothing contained in this Part shall be construed to deprive any blind or partially blind person not carrying a cane white in color or white tipped with red, or being accompanied by a guide dog, of any of the rights and privileges conferred by law upon pedestrians crossing streets and highways, nor shall the failure of such blind or partially blind person to carry a cane white in color or white tipped with red, or to be accompanied by a guide dog, upon the streets, roads, highways or sidewalks of this State, be held to constitute or be evidence of contributory negligence by virtue of this Part. (1949, c. 324, s. 3.)
Section 20-175.4. Repealed by Session Laws 1973, c. 1330, s. 39.
Part 11B. Pedestrian Rights and Duties of Persons with a Mobility Impairment.
Section 20-175.5. Use of motorized wheelchairs or similar vehicles not exceeding 1000 pounds gross weight.
While a person with a mobility impairment as defined in G.S. 20-37.5 operates a motorized wheelchair or similar vehicle not exceeding 1000 pounds gross weight in order to provide that person with the mobility of a pedestrian, that person is subject to all the laws, ordinances, regulations, rights and responsibilities which would otherwise apply to a pedestrian, but is not subject to Part 10 of this Article or any other law, ordinance or regulation otherwise applicable to motor vehicles. (1991, c. 206, s. 1.)
Part 11C. Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices.
Section 20-175.6. Electric personal assistive mobility devices.
(a) Electric Personal Assistive Mobility device. - As defined in G.S. 20-4.01(7a).
(b) Exempt From Registration - As provided in G.S. 20-51.
(c) Use of Device - An electric personal assistive mobility device may be operated on public highways with posted speeds of 25 mils per hour or less, sidewalks and bicycle paths. A person operating an electric personal assistive mobility device on a sidewalk, roadway or bicycle path shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and other human-powered devices. A person operating an electric personal assistive mobility device shall have all the rights and duties of a pedestrian, including the rights and duties set forth in part 11 of this Article.
(d) Municipal Regulation. - For the purpose of assuring the safety of persons using highways and sidewalks, municipalities having jurisdiction over public streets, sidewalks, alleys, bridges and other ways of public passage may by ordinance regulate the time, place and manner of the operation of electric personal assistive mobility devices, but shall not prohibit their use. (2002-98, s. 5.)