What Are Pedestrian Laws in California?

The law defines a pedestrian as anyone who gets around public places without using a vehicle. People who walk, jog, or walk skaters or wheelchairs are pedestrians in the eyes of the law. Sadly, pedestrians are vulnerable road users, and when they collide with vehicles, the results can be disastrous.

Heavy road traffic and busy downtown areas are some factors that increase pedestrian accidents in the state. Personal injury attorneys in California explain that pedestrians have a right to pursue compensation if injured by a negligent driver. However, they must also obey all pedestrian laws or face consequences such as traffic tickets.

Who Has the Right of Way at a Crosswalk?

California law doesn’t require a driver to wait for a pedestrian to fully exit a crosswalk before proceeding into the lane. However, a pedestrian must safely be out of the vehicle’s path for the car to move again. In other words, a driver must yield to a pedestrian’s right of way in a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.

Under California Vehicle Code Section 21950, the following rules for crosswalks apply:

  • All drivers must reduce their speed or stop to yield to pedestrians within crosswalks. They should stop before the stop line, not in the middle of the crosswalk.
  • A driver must stop if a pedestrian is halfway into the lane or approaching fast enough to be in danger
  • Drivers must not overtake vehicles that have stopped to yield to pedestrians at a crosswalk
  • Pedestrians shouldn’t step off a curb if it’s unsafe, even at a crosswalk  

Pedestrian accident lawyers in Chino Hills caution pedestrians against entering a street or roadway when they don’t have the right of way as the law won’t protect them. If you were injured in a pedestrian accident and believe the driver was at fault, skilled lawyers can look into your case and help you file a compensation claim.

Blind Pedestrians and Right of Way at Crosswalks

The law gives blind pedestrians with white canes or service dogs the right of way under Vehicle Code Section 21964. The section also forbids people who are not blind from carrying white canes. Pedestrians should also not engage in conduct that could put them in harm’s way at crosswalks.

Exceptions to Right of Way for Pedestrians

Pedestrians don’t always have the right of way, especially if they engage in conduct that violates pedestrian laws. Even if you were injured at a crossway, Chino Hills pedestrian accident lawyers explain that the following could minimize your chances of recovering compensation:

  • Running into a street
  • Walking across an intersection with a “don’t walk” red light or signal
  • Crossing between moving traffic where there’s no crosswalk

If an investigation reveals you did any of the above, you could be held liable for the crash if it caused property damage or bodily injury.

Do Pedestrians Have to Follow Crossing Lights?

Crossing lights alert pedestrians when it is time to cross an intersection, with some flashing countdown signals to let pedestrians know how much time they have left to finish crossing. Even when a crossing light signals a pedestrian to cross, they must allow cars already in the crosswalk to pass first.

Pedestrians may also cross when the crossing lights are blinking. However, they must reach the other side before the lights signal them not to walk or the countdown stops. Chino Hills pedestrian accident attorneys often investigate these factors when determining liability to help injured victims pursue compensation.

Who Is at Fault in a Pedestrian Accident in California?

Establishing fault in a pedestrian accident involves assessing the negligence of the parties involved. Drivers are legally obligated to drive with care for the safety of other road users on California roadways. A motorist who breaches this duty, causing an injury that injures another person, can be found negligent and at fault for the resulting injuries.

While pedestrians should also exercise care, drivers should use greater care because of their capacity to cause injury. Violating a pedestrian’s right of way leads to a presumption of negligence as a matter of law. Pedestrian accident lawyers in Chino Hills say that common factors that contribute to driver negligence include:

  • Driving under the influence
  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Recklessness
  • Road rage

Comparative Negligence in a California Pedestrian Accident

A pedestrian who breaches their duty to obey traffic laws and act reasonably regarding their own safety and that of others may be found negligent for any resulting injuries. In some cases, the driver and the pedestrian may have acted negligently, making them liable for the accident at a percentage assigned to each party.

The principle is comparative negligence, which affects a pedestrian’s compensation amount in a claim. California personal injury lawyers explain that the amount of compensation will be reduced by the pedestrian’s percentage of fault for the accident. Skilled lawyers can fight to ensure you get the amount your case is worth to protect your rights.

An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Providing Legal Counsel on Pedestrian Accidents

Various strict laws govern pedestrians and motorists, and it’s crucial to observe them to minimize the risk of getting into an accident. However, if you or your loved one were injured in a pedestrian accident, don’t be quick to admit fault. Aggressive Chino Hills personal injury attorneys can investigate the case and help you pursue compensation.

The Paris Firm hosts knowledgeable pedestrian accident lawyers who can represent you in a pedestrian accident lawsuit. We work hard to hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions while protecting victims’ rights. Let us help you determine the full extent of your compensation claim and fight for the most favorable outcome. Call us at 909-325-6185 to schedule a FREE case assessment.