Most of the time, as a pedestrian, you will find that you have the right of way. This rule is put in place to protect pedestrians from getting struck by a vehicle.
Pedestrians are not always in the right regarding traffic violations.
This is especially true if the pedestrian’s actions put others in danger. All motorists and pedestrians need to abide by the same rule where they should show reasonable concern for others and, in doing so, should always exercise caution.
So, in what specific cases can you find that the pedestrian is actually in the wrong? Here is what we learned:
1. A Pedestrian Crosses When Warned Not To
The first incidence when a pedestrian does not have the right of way is when the crosswalk specifically tells them not to walk.
Busier intersections have crosswalks as well as walk signals located at each corner. When the signal flashes with a red hand, the pedestrian should refrain from crossing because the traffic will move.
So, if a pedestrian isn’t paying attention and steps off the sidewalk into the crosswalk with the intent to cross even when the signal says stop, they are in the wrong.
However, motorists still have to follow the rule to stop or avoid hitting the pedestrian, even if the pedestrian chooses to walk when they shouldn’t have.
While a motorist must try their best to avoid hitting a pedestrian, if they cannot do so, they won’t be considered liable for the accident. This is because the pedestrian made a choice, whether conscious or not, to cross when the signal prompted them not to.
In these cases, the pedestrian even may be financially liable for any damage done to the vehicle or even any injuries sustained by the person driving.
2. The Pedestrian Does Not Use a Proper Crosswalk
The best way to keep yourself safe when walking around is to always use a crosswalk. This is especially important in busier areas that have an increased amount of traffic.
Remember that you do not have the right of way if you choose to cross without a proper crosswalk.
Drivers are taught to pay attention to their surroundings, but they are not mind readers. It is much easier for a pedestrian to avoid a car than for a car to avoid a pedestrian.
So, even if you think the road is clear, just know that you are still taking a risk when you choose to cross where no crosswalk is present.
If there happens to be an accident, you could even find that you are at fault.
Crosswalks are safest because they are located at a curb and don’t allow cars to park within 10 feet of the crosswalk.
Motorists know that they are supposed to come to a full stop if someone is on the road. If you cross without a crosswalk, especially if you are crossing a street with heavy street parking, it can be harder for the car to spot you, which can delay their brake reaction.
You may find yourself on the hook for any damages done when you are recklessly crossing the street and may even get in some legal hot water if your choices cause more than one vehicle to crash.
3. Stepping Off a Curb Without First Checking if the Way is Clear
The number one cause of a pedestrian-incited accident is a distraction, and the biggest distraction can be found most times in the palm of our hands.
Over the past decade, studies show that there has been an increased amount of accidents caused by a pedestrian looking at their phone.
The most common way a pedestrian can cause an accident is when they are too busy looking at their phone while walking. Hence, they step off the curb into traffic without looking up to ensure the way is clear.
In cases where a pedestrian is distracted or simply not paying attention, the pedestrian does not have the right of way and will be in the wrong if an accident occurs.
Stepping off a curb into traffic takes less than a second; however, the reaction time for a motorist to be able to come to a full stop to avoid hitting you takes around 1.5 seconds.
So, it takes less time for a pedestrian to look up and be aware of where the curb is than it will take a person driving a car to avoid hitting you.
4. Cases of Immediate Hazard
Anyone on the street, whether a pedestrian or a motorist, will find themselves at fault if they were the cause of an immediate hazard.
For example, if a pedestrian runs into the street while there is heavy traffic without following traffic laws, which causes an accident involving several cars, the pedestrian has caused an immediate hazard which, as a direct result, causes the accident.
In cases where pedestrians are at fault for violating immediate hazard laws, they do not have the right of way.
However, it should be noted that the term “immediate hazard” is only used in extreme situations where an accident was caused due to willful negligence.
This does not apply to situations where the pedestrian simply wasn’t paying attention or accidentally stepped off a curb.
You have to prove that it was done with ill intent.
5. Whoever Got there First Has the Right Of Way
In cases with no walking signal, whoever makes it to the crosswalk first has the right of way. This goes for both pedestrians and motorists.
In these cases, 10 feet before the crosswalk should be a sign letting vehicles know that they need to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. But this also applies to pedestrians who are waiting on the curb.
Suppose the pedestrian got the curb and is ready to cross before the car has reached that corner. In that case, the pedestrian is allowed to cross, and the motorist must wait until they are out of the crosswalk zone and on the curb on the opposite side before they can proceed to drive.
If the car has made it to the crosswalk first, the motorist has the right of way, and the pedestrian should wait until the car passes before crossing.
But what if there are multiple cars in line? Do you have to wait for each car to pass?
Many motorists are unaware of the “first come, first serve” rule when talking about who has the right of way and may believe that they can follow the car in front of them, even if there is a pedestrian on the curb waiting to cross.
This is not the case. The car should slow to a stop after the car in front of them passes the crosswalk and wait for the waiting pedestrian to cross before moving along.
This is why you may have seen increased flashing of yellow signs at crosswalks. These remind motor vehicles that they have the right of way if a pedestrian is on the curb waiting to cross.
Do Pedestrians Always Have The Right Of Way?
When Do Pedestrians Not Have The Right Of Way?