The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

June 22, 2013

THOMAS YOUNG | Rules to be followed

Thomas Young

JOHNSTOWN — I had a bad drive to my office the other day.

First, a woman in an SUV threw her cigarette butt out her window. What’s equally bad is that she didn’t stop to pick it up.

The law clearly states that, “No person shall throw or deposit upon any highway ... from a vehicle any waste paper, sweepings, ashes, household waste, glass, metal, refuse or rubbish ...” And, if you do, you shall immediately remove the same or cause it to be removed.

Next, as I was carefully driving down Market Street in Johnstown, a young man parked his car in front of me, opened the driver’s door and exited without even looking toward my direction. I swerved slightly in case he was also going to cross the street. He was obviously unaware of the Act of June 17, 1976, P.L. 162, No. 81, Section 1, effective July 1, 1977, which states very clearly, “No person shall open any door on a motor vehicle unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic ...”

Before I arrived at my destination, the driver in front of me pulled halfway across an intersection and then stopped because the traffic in front of him wasn’t moving. What he wound up doing was obstructing the traffic going up the cross street. I guess he wasn’t aware of the law that says “No driver shall enter an intersection ... unless there is sufficient space on the other side of the intersection to accommodate the vehicle being operated without obstructing the passage of other vehicles, notwithstanding any traffic control signal indication to proceed.

There are instructions for the operation of trains as well. “No person shall operate any train ... to prevent vehicular use of any roadway for a period of time in excess of five consecutive minutes ...” There are some exceptions, such as switching operators or if there are no cars waiting to cross the tracks.

As I was pulling into my parking space behind my building, I realized that I was actually driving across a sidewalk, which is prohibited. I was saved by the exception for driving on a permanent or duly authorized temporary driveway. There is also an exception for EPAMD (Electric Personal Assistance Mobility Devices).

It should be no surprise that motorcycles and their operators have their own rules.

Here are a few examples:

• In no event shall a passenger sit in front of the operator.

• The operator must face forward with one leg on each side of the motorcycle.

• The operator shall not overtake and pass in the same lanes as the vehicle being overtaken.

• No more than two abreast.

• No one shall operate or ride on a motorcycle without protective headgear, unless they are 21 years old and have been licensed for 2 years or are 21 and have passed a motorcycle rider safety course.

And you thought the Legislature was loafing.

Thomas Young, a graduate of Pitt and Harvard Law School, has been a lawyer in Johnstown since 1958. He is a former professor of business law at Pitt-Johnstown. Readers may send questions to Young in care of The Tribune-Democrat. The opinions expressed in this column are general in nature and may not apply to your situation. Consult your attorney for advice on specific legal matters.

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