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Ask 13: What are the rules for crosswalks at night?

"Do you know what the rules are regarding crosswalks at night?" Barbara Wallk wrote. "In the rain after dark, I saw a woman on Charlotte Street and Edwin waving her arms at traffic, trying to get cars to stop so she could cross Charlotte Street." (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

Asheville has been notorious for pedestrian deaths. The city was once rated as the worst in the state.

Over the last few years, Asheville police have been trying to change that. But for some, the pedestrian rules on when to cross are still fuzzy.

One viewer wrote to Ask 13 concerned about the rules for pedestrians at crosswalks that aren't controlled by traffic lights, particularly at nighttime.

"Do you know what the rules are regarding crosswalks at night?" Barbara Wallk wrote. "In the rain after dark, I saw a woman on Charlotte Street and Edwin waving her arms at traffic, trying to get cars to stop so she could cross Charlotte Street."

Charlotte Street is four lanes wide in places and very busy. The crosswalk at Charlotte and Edwin also does not have traffic lights. Barbara's afraid if cars stop in the dark on one side to let someone cross, they could be in danger of being hit by a car coming from the other direction.

The City of Asheville placed reflective flags at this crosswalk right around the corner from Edwin to make certain drivers can see pedestrians as they cross.

Police say the responsibility falls on drivers to know that the rules are the rules -- day or night.

"There is no difference in the crosswalk rules between night and day," Asheville Police Officer Scott Fry said. "However, there are different types of crosswalks, and the simplest way to explain that is if an intersection is controlled by a traffic signal, the pedestrians are required to follow the crosswalk signals."

But if it's a mid-block crosswalk or an intersection that's not controlled by a traffic signal, then once the pedestrian is within the crosswalk, they have the right of way and vehicles are required to stop. This is true even after dark.

Officer Fry said drivers have a responsibility in areas where there are a lot of pedestrians to slow down and be safe. But again, day or night, once someone steps into a crosswalk, they have the right of way and drivers have to stop.

If you have a question you'd like answered, write to Ask13@WLOS.com

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