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Pedestrian Laws in California

It is crucial for both drivers and pedestrians to understand their obligations on and around the roadways, particularly their obligations to one another. Pedestrians are considered vulnerable roadway users, and any type of collision with a heavier motor vehicle is likely to lead to severe injuries or death. Pedestrian laws matter. Here, we want to discuss the most important pedestrian laws that individuals and drivers need to understand when they are around or on the roadway.

Pedestrians and Drivers – Shared Responsibilities 

When we examine California law, we can see that every driver is required to yield to pedestrians in just about every circumstance. Pedestrians do usually have the right of way, so long as they use marked crosswalks or intersections and obey “Walk” and “Do Not Walk” signs. Drivers and vehicles are required to slow down and yield to pedestrians who obey these crosswalks and traffic signals. 

However, there are not always intersections with pedestrian signals, and in these situations, pedestrians should only cross the roadway when the light is green, and the road is clear for them. If there is a crossing signal with a countdown clock, pedestrians should begin crossing when the sign is blinking and should reach the other side of the roadway before the light turns steady. If there is no countdown clock, pedestrians should not enter the crosswalk if the signal is already blinking.

Pedestrians have the right of way on sidewalks. This includes the right of way over motorists and bicyclists. If a vehicle needs to turn into a driveway or parking lot that passes over a sidewalk, drivers are required to yield to pedestrians.

Do Crosswalks Have to be Used?

In the event there is a crosswalk at an intersection or a marked crosswalk at an area that is not an intersection, pedestrians are required to cross in this area. This helps prevent pedestrians from crossing roads or intersections diagonally, which is illegal in the state unless there is a crosswalk or control traffic officer that permits it.

Failing to use a crosswalk or intersection when one is available could result in a pedestrian receiving a ticket for jaywalking. Even though this is not a crime, it could be punishable by a fine of up to $200.

It is legal, however, for a pedestrian to cross the road in areas where there are no crosswalks or intersections, as long as there is no oncoming traffic. If there is traffic present on the roadway, pedestrians must yield the right of way to vehicles that present an immediate hazard to them. In other words, they should wait until the path is clear before crossing.

Recovering Compensation After a Pedestrian Accident

If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a pedestrian accident caused by the actions of another driver, we encourage you to reach out to a skilled Santa Ana personal injury lawyer immediately. A California pedestrian accident lawyer can examine the facts of your case and work to recover maximum compensation on your behalf. If another driver broke the law by failing to yield the right of way, you should be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering damages, and property damage expenses from their insurance carrier.