Pedestrian Laws

New Jersey has high rates of pedestrian injuries and fatalities according to state police data. These rates are much higher than the national average and indicate the need to improve driving behavior and road design, and to protect vulnerable road users (people on foot, bicycle, scooter, in a wheelchair, or otherwise not in a car, bus, or truck).

Laws of Pedestrian Safety


  • Pedestrians must obey pedestrian signals and use crosswalks where they exist. If crosswalks are not available, pedestrians may cross the roadway at a right angle after yielding to traffic (NJSA 39:4-32, NJSA 39:4-33, NJSA 39:4-34).
  • Pedestrians shall not cross a road against the “stop” or red signal at a crosswalk (NJSA 39:4-32).
  • A pedestrian crossing or starting across on a “go” or green signal who is still in the crosswalk when the signal changes, has the right of way until reaching the opposite curb or place of safety (NJSA 39:4-32).
  • Pedestrians cannot suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield (NJSA 39:4-36).
  • If sidewalks are available, it is illegal for a pedestrian to walk in the roadway or on bicycle paths or lanes. If no sidewalk is present, pedestrians may walk along the left side of the roadway or on the road’s shoulder facing opposite traffic if sidewalks are not present (NJSA 39:4-34).


  • The Stop and Stay Stopped Law: Drivers must stop and stay stopped for pedestrians in a marked crosswalk, and must yield to pedestrians in an unmarked crosswalk.
  • The New Jersey Safe Passing Law: When passing vulnerable road users, drivers must approach with due caution, change lanes or pass with 4 feet of space if possible, or otherwise slow to 25 mph and be prepared to stop.
  • If a motor vehicle is pulling out of or entering a driveway, private road, alley or building, it must yield the right of way to pedestrians on the sidewalk (NJSA 39:4-66 & NJSA 39:4-66.1).
  • Drivers making a right turn on red or at a “stop” sign must stop and stay stopped for pedestrians in the crosswalk (NJSA 39:4-115).

More Tips on Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrians share the road with motor vehicle, bicyclists, and other vulnerable users. Everyone can take steps to make our streets in New Jersey safer!


  • Follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
  • Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
  • Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections. Look for cars in all directions, including those turning left or right. If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross safely; continue watching for traffic as you cross.
  • Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways or backing up in parking lots.
  • Remember: alcohol and drugs can impair your abilities and your judgment.
  • Wear reflective clothing when walking at night.


  • RETHINK how you drive. Behind the wheel, are you:
  • Alert and focused?
  • Looking out for people walking?
  • Obeying all posted signs and speed limits?
  • Remember to always look out for people crossing the street while you drive. Stop for pedestrians in marked crosswalks and at intersections.
  • Stop and look for pedestrians and bicyclists before turning.
  • Pay extra attention when exiting driveways or backing up in parking lots, especially when crossing a sidewalk.
  • Do not pass vehicles stopped for people crossing in crosswalks and at intersections.
  • Do not block or park in crosswalks.
  • Allow 4 feet when passing other vulnerable road users. See the New Jersey Safe Passing Law for more information.
  • Eliminate all distractions and drive sober.


  • Yield the right of way for pedestrians in marked and unmarked crosswalks and at intersections.
  • Look for pedestrians and other vulnerable road users before turning right on red.
  • Do not pass vehicles or bicycles that have stopped to yield to a pedestrian.
  • Do not block or park on crosswalks.
  • While New Jersey state law does not outlaw riding on the sidewalk, some municipalities have passed ordinances that prohibit doing so. Bicycles are vehicles and belong in the street, with an exception made for small children.

Check out our help desk for frequently asked questions and/or
to submit any questions you may have yourself!