Rules of the Road: Can police pull someone over in another city's jurisdiction?

FOR THE BELLINGHAM HERALDAugust 5, 2013 

Question: Can a Ferndale police officer pull someone over for a traffic stop in Everson/Lynden/Sumas, etc?

Answer: The short answer is yes. The state of Washington has a statute that allows this. This frequently happens when we have an emphasis patrol where you will see officers from any or all of the county law enforcement agencies well outside of their normal patrol areas

Q: My wife and I just had an incident today. We're bicyclists. We were crossing Orleans at the trail crosswalk, going toward Pacific Street, something we've done hundreds of times over the years. As usual, I slowed down to see if the vehicle on the left was slowing to a stop. It did. Then I looked to my right to see if that vehicle was slowing. It seemed like it was slowing, so I started across, pulling a dog trailer. But I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the vehicle on the right was not stopping. So I stopped in the middle of the crosswalk. He honked and yelled at me, "You're not a pedestrian! Get your ass across!" We had a few choice words. Don't vehicles have to stop for bicyclists as well as pedestrians in that crosswalk?

A: The short answer is yes they do. The applicable RCW is 46.61.235. Crosswalks (1) The operator of an approaching vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian or bicycle to cross the roadway within an unmarked or marked crosswalk when the pedestrian or bicycle is upon or within one lane of the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning.

For purposes of this section "half of the roadway" means all traffic lanes carrying traffic in one direction of travel, and includes the entire width of a one-way roadway.

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David Wright is a retired officer from the Bellingham Police Department who is now on the Whatcom County Traffic Safety Task Force.

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