Pedestrian Rights

Pedestrian Rights

Crossing the street in Orange County is fraught with potential dangers like careless drivers and speeding vehicles. A sobering fact: Over 25% of traffic fatalities in California are pedestrian deaths.

To stay safe as you cross the road, it’s important to understand pedestrian rights and relevant traffic laws in California. Read on to learn more about the right of way and other pedestrian crossing regulations in the Golden State.

Right of Way for Pedestrians in California

Many Californians mistakenly assume that pedestrians always have right of way when crossing the street. The law instructs drivers to yield right of way to a pedestrian crossing the street using a marked crosswalk or at a roadway intersection, while pedestrians must give right of way to drivers at all other points.

Vehicles must give way to a pedestrian who approaches either from the roadway half where the vehicle is moving or from the opposite half but close enough to make crossing the street dangerous. Drivers must use extra caution if the pedestrian is a child, senior, or incapacitated person.

If a vehicle stops before a marked or unmarked crosswalk to allow pedestrians to pass, any vehicle approaching from behind must also stop and wait until the pedestrian crossing frees up and the stopped vehicle moves again.

However, even in places where pedestrians would normally have right of way, they must still give way to:

  • Police cruisers
  • Public safety vehicles
  • Ambulances
  • Funeral procession cars

Pedestrian Crossing Regulations

Just as motorists are under a legal duty to drive safely and avoid colliding with pedestrians, pedestrians must obey relevant traffic control rules and traffic signals. For instance:

  • Pedestrians can only cross diagonally if and as relevant traffic control devices regulate the crossing.
  • Pedestrians must yield right of way to vehicles on the roadway if there’s an available overhead pedestrian crossing or pedestrian tunnel.
  • When crossing between two adjacent intersections with active traffic control signals, pedestrians must use a designated crosswalk.
  • Pedestrians must exercise reasonable caution when crossing the street. For example, pedestrians must not dart abruptly onto the crosswalk or intentionally hold up traffic flow.

Can Pedestrians Walk Outside a Marked Crosswalk or Pedestrian Area?

Sidewalks and crosswalk areas are the safest places for pedestrians. If a sidewalk is available, walking on an adjacent roadway is unlawful and dangerous for pedestrians and other road users.

Jaywalking, i.e., crossing the road outside a designated crosswalk, is now legal in California, provided there’s “no immediate danger.” However, while jaywalking may be lawful, this doesn’t mean it’s advisable. A careless driver or sudden oncoming traffic may put you and others at risk.

How To Exercise Proper Precaution as a Pedestrian

Following a few simple safety rules will help you reduce road hazards as a pedestrian in California. To stay safe, you should:

  • Pay attention to traffic signals and obey traffic control devices at all times.
  • Take extra precaution when moving between cars in parking lots and other traffic-dense areas.
  • Avoid cell phone use and other distractions when you cross.
  • Use the road’s shoulder facing traffic that travels from the opposite direction if you’re walking along a road with no sidewalk. That way, you’ll have more time to see any vehicle approaching and move aside.
  • Wear reflective clothing when you walk after nightfall or in poor visibility conditions.

What To Do if You End Up in a Pedestrian Accident

Even if you take every precaution and follow all relevant traffic control signals, you may still end up in a pedestrian accident. If you sustain injuries as a pedestrian, make sure you:

  • Get prompt medical attention, even if your injuries don’t feel very serious. Save every medical record for a possible future claim.
  • Report the accident to the police and request a copy of the accident report.
  • Note the name, license plate number, and insurance information of the offending motorist.
  • Take photos and videos of the accident scene and write down the contact numbers of any witnesses.
  • Contact a pedestrian accident lawyer who can walk you through the process and communicate with the insurance companies on your behalf.

Please note that you may be entitled to compensation under California law even if you disobeyed some pedestrian regulations (for example, you violated traffic signals when using a crosswalk). A pedestrian accident attorney can help you understand how shared liability works in your case and what types of compensation you may expect.

Khalil Law Group: Protecting Pedestrian Rights in Orange County, CA

Did you sustain injuries in a pedestrian accident in Orange County? You may have grounds for filing a personal injury claim and requesting compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other accident-related expenses.

At Khalil Law Group, we provide reliable legal support to victims of pedestrian accidents and their families. Call us at (714) 617-7870 or contact us online for a free consultation with a pedestrian accident lawyer in Orange County, CA.