Rules of the road complex -- sometime dangerous -- for skateboarders
After a young skateboarder was struck by a car on West Avenue in August, questions arose over whether the rules governing bikers and pedestrians apply to people on skateboards.
Sgt. Jeremiah Marron said skateboarders are considered to be pedestrians so they must follow those same laws, such as traveling against traffic whereas bikes travel with traffic. However, Marron said there is always confusion about what rules people should obey whether they are walking, riding a bike or on a skateboard.
"These are tricky laws that most people don't know about," Marron said.
In the case where Christopher Chiamulera, 14, of Darien, was struck by a vehicle after he went into the westbound lane on West Avenue from the exit-only portion of the McGuane Park driveway, Marron said Chiamulera should have looked for a crosswalk.
Marron noted, however, there aren't any crosswalks near the area where Chiamulera was hit.
"Nine times out of 10, when a pedestrian gets hit, it's usually because they didn't cross in a crosswalk," he said.
When there is no crosswalk, Marron said pedestrians and bikers are supposed to yield to vehicles. However, in any area where there are signs and crosswalks directing traffic to yield to pedestrians, by law, a vehicle must stop, he said.
"Even in the areas where there are signs telling vehicles to stop for pedestrians, people can't just walk off the curb and expect them to stop," Marron said. "A car needs to be able to recognize that a pedestrian is waiting to cross."
The laws governing who yields to whom become more complex when traffic lights are involved, Marron said.
If vehicles have a green traffic light to go in one direction, then pedestrians are supposed to yield to the vehicles. If a vehicle is turning onto a road where pedestrians have a light telling them to go, then the vehicle should yield to the pedestrian, he said.