You have probably heard it before – pedestrians have right of way. However, that is not always true. That has become a widespread myth that many people continue to believe. Just because a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, it doesn’t mean the driver was automatically at fault. The entire situation and what led to the accident will have to be considered to determine whether the driver or the pedestrian was at fault for the accident that resulted. Legally, a pedestrian does have the right-of-way in marked crosswalks as well as when crossing the street at controlled intersections.
Looking at the Laws Closely
A driver must bring his vehicle to a complete stop if and when a pedestrian is crossing in a marked crosswalk. The vehicle must remain stopped until the pedestrian has cleared the driver’s lane of traffic. A bicycle is considered a vehicle, so a cyclist must adhere to the same laws as a motor vehicle and stop for a pedestrian. While as a pedestrian you would have right-of-way in a crosswalk, you are not automatically safe. You should exercise due care and use good judgment when crossing the street. Check to see there is far enough distance for a motorist to stop for you before you step into the crosswalk.
While a walk signal or green light says it is your turn as a pedestrian to cross the street, don’t step out into the street right away. Check to see it is safe. Make sure any cars making a right-hand turn is going to yield. Make sure no one is running is the light. Double check to see the intersection is clear. Never assume that just because you see the driver that the driver sees you. The driver might not see you soon enough to get stopped. You might be more difficult to notice if you are coming from the right and the driver is checking his left, so make eye contact with the driver and don’t cross the street until you are certain that the car has stopped or is stopping.
Always Use Caution
Even if you have right-of-way, you should use caution when crossing the street. You have a responsibility to use care and to remain diligent to avoid an accident and to protect yourself. After all, we must all take responsibility for our own safety. If you just step out into the street in front of a vehicle, you are responsible for the accident. A pedestrian does not always have the right-of-way and cannot ignore traffic signals or just walk out in front of passing cars. Make sure you are familiar with the local traffic laws and know when you can cross the street. After all, your safety and the safety others should come first.
Consult With a Personal Injury Attorney
If have been involved in a pedestrian and motor vehicle accident, you should consult with a personal injury attorney. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page today, so an accident injury lawyer can review your case.