If you were hurt in a pedestrian accident in California, it’s important to understand the state’s crosswalk laws. Knowing your rights and responsibilities will help you navigate the aftermath with confidence, so you can seek the compensation you deserve.
First and foremost, you should know that California law requires drivers to yield to pedestrians who are in a marked or unmarked crosswalk. This means if you were legally crossing the street when the driver hit you, they are likely at fault. Consequently, they’re probably liable for the damages you incurred.
It’s important to note, however, that pedestrians are expected to exercise reasonable care when crossing the street. There are also specific statutes that can influence where blame lies, depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident.
For example, one such statute regards walk/don’t walk signals, and it’s that pedestrians are entitled to start crossing after the countdown timer has begun. This may seem like an odd thing to highlight, but it was prohibited by California law prior to 2018.
You should know, however, that if you do start crossing while the timer is already counting down, you are expected to get to the other sidewalk before the countdown has ended. Put another way, you cannot still be in the crosswalk when the timer reaches zero.
Countdown timers were tested in San Francisco back in 2001, and they have widely replaced the old crosswalk signals with the red hand and walking person across the state. These updated timers let pedestrians know exactly how much time they have left to make it across, so they can decide whether to start crossing or wait for the next signal.
While this is a state law, it’s important to know that municipal and local ordinances for crosswalk use can differ. Pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 21961, local jurisdictions are entitled to devise their own rules for pedestrians.
That means even if you’re legally allowed to cross the street mid-block in one city, you may not necessarily be able to do so in another without jaywalking. Naturally, this could have considerable ramifications for pedestrians who end up getting hurt in accidents when it comes time to assign liability.
What Constitutes a Pedestrian?
The general consensus is that pedestrians are people on foot. It’s important to clarify what the law actually considers a pedestrian, however, because the California Vehicle Code specifically mentions them.
You may be surprised to learn that the California DMV says a pedestrian is anyone who is walking OR using a “conveyance such as roller skates, skateboard, etc., other than a bicycle.” People using tricycles, quadricycles, and wheelchairs are also considered pedestrians in the eyes of the law.
Speak with a Long Beach Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
If you were hurt in a pedestrian accident through no fault of your own, turn to the Law Office of Michael D. Waks for strategic legal counsel. Attorney Waks is well-versed in California tort law, as well as in the differences among local ordinances, and he can help you determine how best to proceed. Call (562) 206-1939 or submit our Contact Formto schedule a free initial consultation with a pedestrian accident lawyer in Long Beach.
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