Police Warn Drivers to Watch Out For Pedestrians

In just 24 hours, Winchester Police responded to two accidents involving pedestrians. This serves as a reminder that drivers need to watch closely for pedestrians crossing the street.

On August 30, 2016, a 77-year-old man was hit by a vehicle while crossing Valley Avenue at Lake Drive.  The driver was in the crosswalk and had a flashing walk signal.  The driver had a green light, but did not yield to the pedestrian when turning on to Valley Avenue.  The driver was issued a ticket for reckless driving.  The victim was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

On August 31, 2016, an 18-year-old male was hit by a vehicle while crossing N. Pleasant Valley Road at Woodstock Lane.  Witnesses said the driver made a left hand turn from Woodstock Lane and hit the teen while he was in the crosswalk. The driver also had a green light, but failed to yield to the pedestrians and was issued a ticket.  The 18-year-old victim suffered an injury to his shoulder.

Virginia state law requires drivers to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. Virginia Code 46.2-924 says drivers of vehicles entering, crossing, or turning at intersections must change their course, slow down, or stop to allow pedestrians to cross safely.  Pedestrians crossing highways at intersections always have the right-of-way over vehicles making turns.

“It’s not just about following the law; it’s about protecting the safety of our friends, neighbors, and visitors who walk around the city,” said Jennifer Hall, Community Relations and Crime Prevention Specialist.  “Please take the time to stop and look in all directions before proceeding.  It could save a life.”

Police urge drivers to use extra caution in the mornings and afternoons when students may be walking to and from school.   Last month, the City of Winchester installed a new flashing pedestrian sign at the intersection of Cameron Street and Cork Street.  A flashing stop sign was also installed at the intersection of Braddock Street and Amherst Street. The City is planning to install additional signs in the future.