Crosswalks are something that we see at all major intersections as well as other areas on streets where pedestrians commonly cross the road. The crosswalks are lined in bright colors, usually white or yellow, to notify the pedestrians as well as the drivers on the road where pedestrians are crossing. But do the crosswalks make a pedestrian safer?
According to the Town of Apple Valley Traffic Information Program, “Studies indicate that pedestrians are twice as likely to be struck in marked crosswalks as opposed to unmarked crosswalks.” This may be because of the sense of security that a pedestrian feels when they are in a marked crosswalk. A well-known saying that the pedestrian has the right of way. This assumption leads to an increase in traffic accidents. But do pedestrians truly have the right of way?
There are some conflicting laws that come into play when talking about pedestrians in crosswalks. California Vehicle Code seems to confirm this. According to the law, a vehicle must give the right of way to a pedestrian that is crossing a street at an intersection. It does not matter if there is a marked crosswalk or not. The vehicle is responsible for being aware of their surroundings and reduce their speed or stop to ensure that the pedestrian is allowed to cross safely. This is according to California Vehicle Code 21950(a & c).
However, California also has a law pertaining to the pedestrian’s responsibilities at a crosswalk. According to California Vehicle Code 21950(b), a pedestrian cannot suddenly enter the crosswalk or step into the path of an oncoming vehicle. The law states that doing so can create a hazard.
Based on the above California laws, the pedestrian does not always have the right of way. A pedestrian must be aware of their surroundings. They need to look both ways and be aware of any oncoming traffic. A vehicle must be aware of their surroundings as well, including any possible pedestrians in a crosswalk. If a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle while crossing the street, the circumstances surrounding the accident must be looked at to determine the at-fault party
If you have questions about your rights as a pedestrian, your rights as a driver, and/or questions regarding an incident involving an pedestrian accident then contact a local personal injury attorney. They are best equipped to answer your questions regarding pedestrian accidents.