The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Pedestrians Should Not Have the Right of Way

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/7/2012 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,038 times Debate No: 23460
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




Everyone knows that if a car strikes a pedestrian it is (normally) the car's fault because pedestrians have the right of way in many cases.

I say that this should not be.

First Round Acceptance

Have fun.


I want to say I accept this challenge. I hope to have a great debate on this topic.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting.


Right of way between types of transportation should be determined by a few key factors one of which being maneuverability. People on foot (pedestrians) are far more maneuverable than a car. They would have a much easier time jumping out of the way of a car than a car would have swerving away from a pedestrian. There is already a double standard on this in the world of transportation in the way of the train.

For example:

If a car is smashed by a train at a railroad crossing it is most likely the car's fault for being hit. Now, if we applied the current rules of right of way to this scenario the train would always be to blame because it is bigger and more powerful just as cars are bigger and more powerful than pedestrians. So why then isn't it the car's fault? Because we understand that trains have no maneuverability and have a hard time stopping. Trains can only run on their tracks just as cars (for the majority of the time) only run in the roads.

In this same manner, cars should be given the right of way because they too have worse maneuverability than people and have a shorter stopping time than people. Cars run mostly within set areas (roads) in which we understand is the realm of the automobile.

Since the train is given right of way in similar situations over the automobile, cars should be given the right of way over pedestrians.


The awareness of drivers is severely dampened by a number of factors. Their eyesight is impeded by the car and many cars have blind spots and rely on mirrors that do not portray the world in 100% accuracy. Their hearing is impeded by the car and reduces the ability to hear the world outside the car with perfect accuracy. On the other hand, people should be aware of themselves at all times and have no such handicap to their eyesight or hearing as drivers do.

We have been given the right of way to people who are functioning at 100% out doors while penalizing drivers who have handicaps to their sight and hearing. This simply does not make sense. When is a person more aware of themselves than when outside with nothing impeding their sense?

In Conclusion

Pedestrians are much more capable of taking care of themselves than drivers. Drivers who are in pedestrian related accidents are unduly punished because they are functioning with many handicaps while pedestrians have no such things.

- Cars are less maneuverable than people.
- Cars have a longer stopping time than people.
- Trains are given the right of way in similar situations to car/pedestrian interactions.
- Drivers' sight is handicapped while driving.
- Driver's hearing is handicapped while driving.
- When walking outdoors average pedestrians have no such handicaps.
- Roads are designated for cars. If a car is smashed while on a train track the first thing people say is "Why were they on the tracks?" yet people seem to obtain the right of way in the road.

Therefore, pedestrians should not have the right of way.


Disadvantage 1: No Cross-Walks

    1. If there is no pedestrian right of way there can be no crosswalks. The C.R.S., define a crosswalk as: “. . that portion of a roadway ordinarily included within the prolongation or connection of the lateral lines of sidewalks at intersections or any portion of a roadway distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other marking onthe surface.” Within this "crosswalk" pedestrians have the legal right of way to be able to cross the street. So if pedestrians can not have the right of way; therefore, they can not have the ability to have a cross walk
    1. If there are no crosswalks, civilians would be stuck on sidewalks at intersections unable to travel. The ability to use a road as travel shouldn't be limited to just motor vehicles, and it is not. Roads were created to promote travel by bikes, people, non-motor vehicles, and motor vehicles. When crosswalks are eliminated there will be almost no opportunity for a pedestrian to legally cross the street. When drivers know they will not have to slow down to prevent hitting a pedestrian, they won't, and the result of this will be an instilled fear into people who have to walk. Many people don't have access to a vehicle to transport them to their destination so they have to rely on their feet. Knowing that they could be hit at anytime anywhere on the street and the result would be their fault, would cause them to stay on the sidewalk. At a four way intersection even when a light becomes red, more than likely someone will be turning right on red or engaging in some action that blocks all intersections. Using the no right of way for pedestrian logic, there will be no opportunity for them to travel within this means. And if cars do have the right away, a pedestrian must wait until the street is completely clear of cars before they can proceed, which in larger cities is practically illogical.

Disadvantage 2: Wrongful Lawsuits
    1. Prized possessions. Outside of having a home and a child in the home, a car is more than likely the single most expensive thing many people owe. If a pedestrian is hit because a car had the right of way, more than likely a person would try and sue to repair damages to their car. This would NOT be right. The pedestrian hit would more than likely have serious injuries and have possibly died. They should not have to worry about paying money to fix another persons car.

    1. Increased expenses. If person was hit and seriously injured or killed, as stated above, they shouldn't have to worry about paying for ones car. Assuming they are insured medically the bills for the hospital when the emergency room, ambulance(if needed), and doctors fees come into play will reach at least 5000$ out of pocket expenses. When the automobile driver sues for their car, this 5000$ can reach 10000$ depending on the damage. This would be taking away money from a person who is at more risk to be killed in this type of accident.

    1. This is not a perfect world. People these days like to take advantage of a system and how it is put into place, especially laws. If someone is tired of their car, some car insurance companies can go as far to allow a person to get a car one model year never than the one damaged in an accident not deemed their fault. So the person knowing that they wouldn't be at fault if they don't slow down and come to a stop so the pedestrian can pass, they can get a new car, they could be willing to take full advantage of this, at the expense of the person/people walking.

Pro-topic : Maneuverability.

The first issue with arguing maneuverability comes when you look at the fact that the cars have the potential to be seen as a deadly weapon towards a pedestrian, but the pedestrian shouldn't be seen as a weapon towards the driver. When a driver is given a license and the ability to drive legally on streets in a state, they have passed a test that shows they have the ability to maneuver the car and drive it in a safe manor. Driving is a privilege and it comes with great responsibility. One of those responsibilities is to yield to pedestrians who cross the street, so they don't harm them. Walking is not a government provided privilege. There is no obligated responsibility, but when crossing the street one does happen to know to look left and right before crossing.

Issues with the example provided under maneuverability.

The main issue with the example provided involving the train and the car, are that a train runs on tracks. With these tracks comes intersections for cars and people. There are swing arms that come down preventing travel of cars and to warn travel of people across tracks. There are no swing arms on sidewalks that prevent pedestrians from walking. What this means is that even though a person is more maneuverable than a car and a car is more maneuverable than a train, this example cannot be used, because there is nothing to physically keep a person from crossing the street.

Pro-Topic: Awareness

Once again, here comes the issue of the responsibilities given to a driver when they are handed a license. A person when they have this license, has the responsibility to pay attention to many things at one time, in order to control the car. They have to be able to be at high awareness, and see forwardly and through their peripheral vision. The fact of the matter is that everyone does not have 20/20 vision. When in the process of getting your license, a person is given a vision test. If they pass this vision test, there is no reason their vision should hamper them anymore than a person walking with the same eyesight. Awareness is key and is the very reason they tell people to not use cell phones while driving and to make sure they are always looking forward. The speed limit usually driven is around 40 miles per hour in cities. It has been proved that at 40 mph it takes 118 feet to stop. A person who is paying attention to the road and their surroundings while driving, should be able to recognize a person or at least a silhouette of a person at around 3 times this length(a football field) by this time the person in the car should have slowed down and recognized a person or at least been able to slam on the brakes(in a needed situation).

To Conclude:

The pedestrian should be given the right away, because without the right away, crosswalks are going to be removed, wrongful lawsuits will happen, and the driver has responsibility to prevent these type of accidents from occurring.

Debate Round No. 2


D1) No Cross-Walks

"that portion of a roadway ordinarily included within the prolongation or connection of the lateral lines of sidewalks at intersections or any portion of a roadway distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other marking onthe surface.”

No where in this definition do I see the words "right of way". All it says is that this area is marked for pedestrian crossing. Even without universal right of way, if someone runs over a pedestrian at a red light the car will be at fault. You have misjudged the vision for this debate. I am not giving cars full right of way over people, but rather taking pedestrian's unlimited right of way away. Without right of way, pedestrians can still cross the street. If the light is red then cars have NO right of way and therefore are still at a loss but pedestrians still don't have right of way.

D2) Lawsuits

Your first argument is irrelevant. Right of way or not, people can sue either party whenever they wish. You are assuming that hitting a person will seriously injur them, which it can, but it also doesn't have to. This argument is not about lawsuits because those will happen either way.

** Again, this is irrelevant and highlights the point of the debate. Just because someone is in a car you expect them to pay for medical bills if they hit someone. This should not be. If a car is driving along within the confines of the road, in an open space with no lights or intersections and a person stupidly walks into the road without looking and is struck you're saying the driver should be forced to pay. That is what this whole debate is about. They should NOT be forced to pay because it was in no way their fault. This is a perfect example of you trying to grant universal right of way to a pedestrian who doesn't deserve it. This also ties in my previous arguments which you misinterpreted. Drivers, due to the car, have decreased visibilty compared to pedestrians, decreased hearing and decreased maneuverability. And yet when this pedestrian is hit who has advantages over the car in everyway you expect the driver to pay. That is wrong and should not be. **

"the driver has responsibility to prevent these type of accidents from occurring"

That is a line taken straight from your conclusion. Now, by saying this you are implying that pedestrians do not have the responsibility to prevent these kinds of accidents when they are actually more inclined to do so because drivers are at sever disadvantages compared to the functionality of a pedestrian. I say pedestrians should have the ultimate responsibility to prevent these accidents and they should not be given unlimited protection like you've continuously tried to grant them.

You have proven my point perfectly. Pedestrians should not be given unlimited right of way because they have the ability and should assume the responsibility to prevent accidents much easier than drivers can. Thus this unlimited protection known as "pedestrian right of way" must be taken away.



To start off, I want to thank my opponent for this debate and their arguments provided on this issue. It has been fun to debate this topic with them, but they have Lost this Debate.

1. Credibility

The issue with credibility comes with my opponent trying to twist the words I have used in my arguments to sound different then what was actually said. The first example of this is the claim that I state the drivers of the cars who hit pedestrians should have to pay medical bills, which was never stated. The second example of this comes from the quote he argues "the driver has responsibility to prevent these type of accidents from occurring.", which was said after I claimed was a stipulation of having a drivers license. However I will still refute these points using the original meaning.

2. Definition

In his last speech my opponent challenged my definition of cross walk. Pedestrians have infinite right of way while within the confines of a crosswalk, this is the only place where. I was not defining the phrase "right of way", and it should be common knowledge of the right of way in crosswalks. If you take away the right of way of pedestrians then there can be no crosswalks, which was a part of one of my disadvantages. Crosswalks allow the pedestrian to walk freely at anytime across the street with full right of way. If a pedestrian runs out in front of a car in the street it is not the drivers fault but it is the pedestrians fault. Even while crossing the street outside an intersection and they are hit doesn't automatically constitute the drivers fault. If the driver has no possibility of stopping, it's the pedestrians fault. There are laws put into place against this inadvertent walking across the street known as "Jay-Walking".

3. Lawsuits

In my lawsuit disadvantage, I never stated the driver should pay for the medical bills. I simply stated that if the pedestrian could be seen at fault for the accident then the driver could sue, which would put the pedestrian at a significant disadvantage monetarily. This adds to the fact that a driver could intentionally disregard the brake leading to an accident in order to gain money.

4. Red Lights

This seemed to be the topic of discussion in the last argument so I'll hit it. If a light is red the pedestrian should no doubt have the right of way. A red light indicates STOP, not "slow down" or "speed up". The driver is not permitted to cross an intersection once the light is red and if they hit a person they should be at full fault. Taking this away would contradict the law requiring a driver to stop at a red light

5. Driver Responsibility

This was misinterpreted in the last argument of my opponent. By saying it was the drivers responsibility to prevent those type of accidents, I was using it as a connection to the drivers license. Pedestrians don't have to have a license to walk, as walking is an ability and is unrestricted to anyone. Driving however, is a privilege provided by Federal and State governments. When you are given a drivers license you are expected to be able to stay aware and keep both yourself and others safe while you are driving. This is why some driving test include simulators of a person in the road or a kid crossing the street. They want to make sure you are able to react fast and stop the car should that happen while driving on the road.

6. Conclusion

I have won this debate for 2 reasons. The first is I have successfully refuted all of the Pro's contentions and arguments. The second is I have provided credible arguments as to why the pedestrian should have the right away. Pedestrians should have the right away because it keeps crosswalks intact, prevents inhumane actions and lawsuits, and it is the drivers responsibility to keep his/herself and others around them safe, by receiving a drivers license. With that being said, I could only hope that you vote Con on this issue.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by TheDiabolicDebater 6 years ago
No! My precious right of way!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's suggestion severely limits non-car travel, increases the danger of speeding, and removes culpability from the more dangerous of the two elements involved in car-pedestrian accidents. Pro's stance on a driver's reduced maneuverability and awareness is a point in Con's favor, as it is only prudent that the more limited party exercise greater caution. Arguments to Con.