This story started with a trip on the Clinton River Trail through Rochester Hills. The trail crosses Crooks Road midblock. There’s a stop sign for the trail users and a crosswalk, but no stop sign for road users.
There’s another sign for trail users: Cross traffic does not stop.
This is odd for two reasons. First, it’s not the intended use of this sign according to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). These signs are for two-way stops that users might mistake as four-way. That’s not the case here.
But secondly, road users are supposed to stop when a user is in the crosswalk. If you’re going to invest in signs, shouldn’t they tell the motorists to yield to those in the crosswalk?
Not in Rochester Hills
Most cities adopt the Uniform Traffic Code (UTC) in their city ordinances which includes a provision for motorists and other road users yielding to pedestrians.
The Rochester Hills City Council did just update these ordinances and included the Michigan Vehicle Code, but they must have overlooked the Uniform Traffic Code. Or did they?
What does this mean?
In Michigan, the “rules of the road” have been divided between the Michigan Vehicle Code and the Uniform Traffic Code. Among many other rules, the Uniform Traffic Code includes:
- Road users yielding to pedestrians in the crosswalks (Note that state law requires yielding to pedestrians and bicycles only when turning through a crosswalk.)
- Prohibiting jaywalking and hitchhiking
- Prohibiting littering on streets
- Prohibiting driving on sidewalks
- Requiring pedestrians to yield to vehicles outside of crosswalks
- Requiring vehicle drivers to exercise due care around pedestrians, but especially children
- Treating skateboarders, roller skaters, or in-line skaters as pedestrians and prohibiting them from roads
We’re not suggesting you try all these, but if you are struck by a car that fails to yield on a trail crossing in Rochester Hills, don’t expect city ordinances to help.
As for the rest of the Clinton River Trail, Auburn Hills, Pontiac, and Rochester have adopted the Uniform Traffic Code. Sylvan Lake has not.