Pedestrian Hit In Unmarked Crosswalk: Who's At Fault?

A 28-year-old pedestrian was struck in an unmarked Hackensack crosswalk the other morning, raising what authorities said is an important point.

Pedestrian crossing
Pedestrian crossing Photo Credit: FILE IMAGE

The victim, a Jersey City woman, was heading west across Summit Avenue at Thompson Street in an unmarked crosswalk when she was struck around 7 a.m. by a southbound 2019 Ford Mustang driven by a 64-year-old city man, police said.

She was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center after complaining of leg and hip pain, they said.

Although no summonses were issued, the driver was assigned fault for failing to yield to a pedestrian.


"Most drivers would not think to stop for someone crossing where there’s nothing marked," Hackensack Police Capt. Nicole Foley said, "but in reality they have to. Every intersection is a crosswalk according to the traffic code."

That means intersections with no painted lines.

New Jersey Statute 39:4-36 specifies: "The driver of a vehicle must stop and stay stopped for a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk, but shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection..."

Exceptions include "crosswalks when the movement of traffic is being regulated by police officers or traffic control signals, or where otherwise prohibited by municipal, county, or state regulation -- except where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided."

At the same time, the statute says, "no pedestrian shall 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."

New Jersey "experiences a disproportionate number of pedestrian injury crashes and fatalities compared to the nation as a whole," the code says.

There's a reason -- and it's usually inattention, police say.

In the end, they say, both drivers and pedestrians should constantly remain vigilant to prevent a catastrophe.


  • Always cross at corners within marked crosswalks where available;
  • If crossing in other locations, yield the right of way to vehicles. Failure to obey the law carries a $54 fine (court costs additional);
  • Look left, right and left again before crossing. Watch for turning cars;
  • Always walk facing traffic;
  • Obey traffic signals, especially “Walk/Don’t Walk”;
  • Remain alert! Don’t assume that cars are going to stop;
  • Wear reflective clothing when walking at night;
  • Stay sober. Walking while impaired greatly increases your chances of being struck.


  • Stop for pedestrians in marked crosswalks. Failure to stop carries a $200 (court costs additional) fine, a 2 point license penalty, 15 days community service, and insurance surcharges;
  • Yield to pedestrians in unmarked crosswalks;
  • Watch for pedestrians when turning right on red;
  • Obey speed limits;
  • Do not block or park in crosswalks;
  • Keep your windshield clean for maximum visibility;
  • Be alert for pedestrian at all times. 


ALSO SEE: A 45-year-old Ridgefield pedestrian was struck in the crosswalk by a left-turning van, authorities said.


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