What Are the Pedestrian Laws in California?

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What Are the Pedestrian Laws in California?

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Posted By DAM Firm | August 22 2021 | Personal Injury

Everyone is aware that they have to obey traffic laws when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle in California. However, what about pedestrians? What laws do pedestrians have to follow to ensure roadway safety? Here, our injury lawyers in Orange County want to discuss the laws regarding pedestrian activities in California. When you are armed with this information, whether as a driver or a pedestrian, you will be able to take the steps necessary to help prevent serious accidents from occurring.

What Responsibilities Do Pedestrians Have in California?

What Responsibilities Do Pedestrians Have in California?

When discussing pedestrian safety, it is crucial to understand that traffic laws apply to drivers and pedestrians alike. Yes, pedestrians have responsibilities when they are walking on or around the roadways in California. Pedestrians should always take steps to keep themselves safe, and they should never expect that a driver will necessarily obey traffic laws.

Pedestrians must always be aware of their surroundings. California Vehicle Code (VC) 467 says that a pedestrian is any person who is walking, riding a motorized assistive mobility device because they cannot walk, or riding something propelled by their own efforts (other than a bicycle).

  • State law says that pedestrians are required to use sidewalks when they are present. If there is no sidewalk present, pedestrians are required to walk along the side of the road and facing traffic.
  • Pedestrians are supposed to use crosswalks when they are present. If there is a “walk” light or other signal, pedestrians are required to wait for this light to engage before crossing. If there is no signal or light, pedestrians should yield to oncoming traffic until they have enough space to cross safely.
  • Pedestrians should only cross the road at intersections and when they have a light, if possible.
  • When pedestrians are not at a marked crosswalk or intersection, they can still cross the street, but they must yield the right of way to all vehicles close enough to create an immediate hazard for them.
  • Pedestrians are not allowed to walk inside designated bike lanes.

Drivers Also Have Responsibilities

Drivers also have responsibilities when it comes to pedestrian safety. Drivers in the state of California must yield to pedestrians at marked and unmarked crosswalks. Additionally, drivers are not allowed to pass a vehicle already stopped at a crosswalk. Drivers cannot cross the sidewalks unless they are going across to get to a driveway or an alley.

Drivers are required to exercise caution and reduce their speed or stop if necessary to ensure pedestrian safety when they are coming to a pedestrian crosswalk or a corner without traffic signals, regardless of whether or not a crosswalk is marked by painted lines.

The Dangers Pedestrians Face in California

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, we can see that there were 972 pedestrian fatalities across the state during the latest reporting year. Additionally, more than 14,000 pedestrians were injured as a result of traffic collisions. Pedestrians are incredibly vulnerable on the roadway. Vehicles that weigh thousands of pounds and can reach high speeds can inflict significant injuries on the human body. It is not uncommon for pedestrians to sustain broken or dislocated bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord trauma, internal organ damage or internal bleeding, and more as a result of these collisions. If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, it is important to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. 


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