Pedestrians have rights and responsibilities on the road the same as drivers. No one is immune to the law, and that goes for those taking a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood as well as those navigating busy city streets. When you’re walking, you must know your rights. Knowing what you can and cannot legally do when you come to a red light, a stop sign, or anywhere else on the road can be the difference between life and death or even a serious lawsuit.
Is Walking Dangerous?
When you hear pedestrians have rights and responsibilities, it’s easy to assume walking is unsafe. Walking is good for your health and the health of the environment, but it can be dangerous if you’re unaware of what your rights are while on the road on foot. “While walking offers numerous benefits for your physical and mental health..the activity can also prove extremely dangerous and sometimes even deadly,” states the Sigurdson Law Firm. Know the rules, and utilize them when you are walking.
What Should Walkers Do?
Walkers have to know the law, and the law is fairly simple for anyone on foot. It’s legal in most places to cross a street outside a crosswalk, though many people only do this on a regular basis in areas where traffic is slow. If you are at a crosswalk and have the right of way, drivers are expected to slow or stop their cars to allow you to cross. All turning drivers must stop for anyone on foot even if they have a green light of their own.
If you choose to walk across a street without a crosswalk, you no longer have the right of way. You are expected to yield to all drivers if you do not have a crosswalk on hand. You do have the right of way if you are crossing on a crosswalk as well as in most parking lots and other areas of that nature. However, you can never be too careful.
Always Be Safe
Even if you have the right of way, you can still lose your life or suffer serious injuries if you don’t pay attention. Distracted driving and walking are both dangerous. If you are distracted by your phone while walking, you might step into oncoming traffic. Just because you have the right of way to cross the road doesn’t mean it’s safe if another driver is distracted while driving.
Staying safe on the road means always looking to see what is going on around you. Never step into the street or crosswalk even if you have the right of way without first checking to see what traffic is like. Never assume you are safe just because you have the right of way. Your life depends on this.
What Happens If I’m Struck By A Car?
The most common question regarding pedestrian rights is what happens if you are struck while crossing a street. Much like any type of car accident, there will be an investigation to see who is at fault. If witnesses state you were running across traffic without checking to see if there was anyone coming, if you didn’t have the right of way, or you did something to cause the accident, you might not receive any compensation for the injuries you incur.
If the accident is the fault of the driver of the vehicle, you might be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver to seek damages. Pedestrian accidents can happen on foot or on bike, and they are often more serious than vehicle accidents. A vehicle against a human is devastating, and it’s not uncommon for the victim’s family to be the ones involved in a personal injury lawsuit because their loved one did not survive.
This is just a small sample of the damages you might receive if you are hit by a car and it is their fault. You should know your rights, but it’s also helpful to contact a personal injury attorney following a pedestrian accident to learn what you can do to utilize your rights.