Pedestrians, etc; local government may adopt ordinances requiring to stop at marked crosswalks. (SB959)

Introduced By

Sen. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington) with support from co-patron Del. David Ramadan (R-South Riding)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Crossing highways. Allows local governing bodies to adopt ordinances requiring users of shared-use paths to stop before crossing highways at marked crosswalks. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


01/07/2013Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/13 13103491D
01/07/2013Referred to Committee on Transportation
01/16/2013Reported from Transportation with substitute (13-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/16/2013Committee substitute printed 13104084D-S1
01/18/2013Constitutional reading dispensed (38-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/21/2013Read second time
01/21/2013Reading of substitute waived
01/21/2013Committee substitute agreed to 13104084D-S1
01/21/2013Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute SB959S1
01/22/2013Read third time and passed Senate (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/25/2013Placed on Calendar
01/25/2013Read first time
01/25/2013Referred to Committee on Transportation
02/01/2013Assigned Transportation sub: #2
02/04/2013Impact statement from DPB (SB959S1)
02/06/2013Subcommittee recommends reporting with amendment(s) (6-Y 0-N)
02/12/2013Reported from Transportation with substitute (20-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/12/2013Committee substitute printed 13104959D-H1
02/13/2013Read second time
02/14/2013Impact statement from DPB (SB959H1)
02/14/2013Read third time
02/14/2013Committee substitute agreed to 13104959D-H1
02/14/2013Engrossed by House - committee substitute SB959H1
02/14/2013Passed House with substitute (90-Y 6-N)
02/14/2013VOTE: PASSAGE (90-Y 6-N) (see vote tally)
02/18/2013House substitute agreed to by Senate (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/18/2013Title replaced 13104959D-S1
02/21/2013Bill text as passed Senate and House (SB959ER)
02/21/2013Impact statement from DPB (SB959ER)
02/21/2013Signed by President
02/21/2013Signed by Speaker
03/21/2013G Approved by Governor-Chapter 681 (effective 7/1/13)
03/21/2013G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0681)


This bill mentions Alexandria, Fairfax, Arlington, Falls Church, Loudoun.


This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 1 clip in all, totaling 1 minute.

Duplicate Bills

The following bills are identical to this one: HB2217.


Michael Stone writes:

This is an unnecessary bill, as the code already prohibits pedestrians from entering a crosswalk in disregard of traffic. Some jurisdictions have been issuing harassing citations (which they now acknowledge to have been invalid) purportedly in the interest of public safety. There is insufficient evidence that these jurisdictions have pursued other mechanisms for increasing safety, such as issuing citations for failure to yield the right of way, routinely enforcing speed limits in the vicinity of the dangerous crossings, or issuing citations for entering in disregard of traffic.

The main effect of this bill will be to further confuse all parties as to the proper behavior at pedestrian crosswalks, increasing the likelihood that motorists will speed through and not be prepared to yield the right of way. This will decrease safety for pedestrians, with no obvious corresponding benefit.

Editor’s Pick
John writes:

A better sign at the end of trails would be a SLOW sign. STOP signs at trail crossings just confuse drivers.

Presently, many of these trails have STOP signs posted, and drivers are confused over who has right of way at these trail crossings. This present law would do nothing to educate drivers or relieve confusion.

When a car driver on a main road with no STOP sign sees a pickup waiting on a side street with a STOP sign, both drivers know the car driver has right of way.

When a car driver sees pedestrians at an unsignalized crosswalk, an educated driver knows he is supposed to stop or yield (46.2-924 and court opinions).

In one VDOT survey about right of way at trail crossings, 63 percent thought motor vehicles have the right-of-way; 28 percent thought trail users; and 8 percent did not know.” (pg 61 of Based on the VDOT survey, some, er, many drivers clearly are confused by a marked crosswalk and a STOP sign facing trail users.

In the best of all possible worlds, the laws would be written simply so we did not need to refer to lawyers or courts to find out what was intended.

At a crosswalk Virginia courts have held “the pedestrian has a superior right -- that is, the right to cross from one side of the street to the other in preference or priority over vehicles -- and drivers of vehicles must respect this right and yield the right of way to the pedestrian. The pedestrian's right of way extends from one side of the street to the other. It does not begin at any particular point in the intersection nor does it end at any particular point. It begins on one side of the street and extends until the pedestrian has negotiated the crossing.” (Marshall v. Shaw. Supreme Court of Virginia, 1955) (

"The duty of a motor vehicle driver on approaching an intersection is to keep a vigilant lookout for pedestrians between curbs on the traveled portion of the highway, and when pedestrians are negotiating the crossing, or about to step from the side into traffic lanes, to operate his car at such speed and under such control that he can readily turn one way or the other, and, if necessary, bring his machine to a stop in time to avoid injury to pedestrians." (Sawyer v. Blankenship, Supreme Court of Virginia, 1933) (