Rules of the Road: Can pedestrians report cars not stopping at crosswalks?


Question: I have had several experiences recently with drivers not stopping at crosswalks (not at stop lights) even though pedestrians were either stepping into or were in the crosswalk. Can a ticket be issued to the driver if a pedestrian reports the car's license plate number to the police?

Answer: Unfortunately, a crosswalk violation is something the officer must see for himself to be able to issue an infraction.

Q: If a school bus is heading south on Meridian in the right-hand lane and makes a complete stop, using its red flashing lights, what are the rules of the road regarding the northbound traffic on Meridian? Does it make a difference when there is a median on a highway?

A: Not knowing specifically which portion of Meridian you are asking about, I will break it down. Meridian Street south of Cornwall Park is a two-lane roadway. In that area, if there is a school bus stopped with its red lights flashing, you must stop. If you are in the area of Meridian that has a center turn lane, you must stop if you are going in the same direction as the bus. If you are on the section of Meridian that has two lanes in each direction (with or without a center turn lane) you must stop if you are going in the same direction as the bus. In the section of Meridian that has the median, you would still be required to stop if you were going the same direction as the bus. To read all of the law, it is RCW 46.61.370.


Rules of the Road is a regular column with questions and answers on road laws, safe driving habits and general police practices.

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

For previous Rules of the Road columns or to ask a question, go to

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