Living in Portland will make you hate crosswalks.

The streets are already tight, and trying to pay attention to every little thing while navigating the busy little spots is almost impossible. Someone like me, with ADHD, trying to keep track of other people's habits is unruly. It's like playing a game of Bingo, except you feel like you're always about to lose.

Closeup from a bingo game

But if there's one thing about crosswalks that's always been frustrating, is knowing when you have to stop, or when you are able to just keep going, without violating the law. Are you supposed to stop when they're physically crossing, or are you supposed to be over-cautious and stop while they're just standing and waiting?

The real answer revolves around intent.

Maine law concerning crosswalks reads like this:

Pedestrians in marked crosswalks. When traffic-control devices are not in operation, an operator must yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing within a marked crosswalk.

To me, that means if you're standing on the side of the street waiting to cross, the pedestrian should have to yield to the car. But, I spoke to a retired Maine Law enforcement officer from Portland, and he said that "intent" is the key word in this case. If a person shows the intent to cross the street in the crosswalk, then cars must yield.

Crosswalk in small Maine town
Mainely Photos

On the other hand, if a person tries to cross the street in an area with no crosswalk, that is the occasion when they'll be required to yield for the car. But that's not really a surprise, because that's basically jaywalking. And there are plenty of rules that are on pedestrians to follow. We know there's tons of rules for cars, but people on foot also share quite a significant responsibility when it comes to their safety.

Rush hour

So there you have it. If someone looks like they fully intend to cross safely in a crosswalk, you'd best stop and let them do so. As I learned today, while a deduction can be flawlessly logical, that doesn't mean it's the law. The law, is always the law.

In case you missed any of last year's new laws, get yourself up to speed right here...

New Maine Laws In 2022

On Monday, August 15th, 2022 nearly two dozen new laws went into effect. Here are some of the highlights

All the Mall Stores Mainers Miss

We all miss these places.

Gallery Credit: Jason Stewart

Mainers Pick the Most 'Maine' Foods

Gallery Credit: Jason Stewart

More From WWMJ Ellsworth Maine