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Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way?

Many people who contact a pedestrian accident lawyer assume that pedestrians have the right of way in every situation. This is actually not true under Florida law. Pedestrians have to obey certain rules of the road just as motorists do.

Of course, because pedestrians are at significant risk of serious injury when involved in an accident with a car, truck, motorcycle, or even a bicycle, there are many circumstances where they do enjoy the right of way. But sometimes they do not.

Situations Where Motorists Must Yield to Pedestrians

Many laws governing the right of way between drivers and pedestrians are found in Section 316.130 of the Florida Motor Vehicle Code. For example, motorists must generally yield to pedestrians when they are crossing the street in a marked or unmarked crosswalk and the pedestrian is on the same half of the road as the vehicle or approaching so close as to be in danger.

In addition, drivers of any type of vehicle have a general duty to “exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian.” If a motorist notices a child or person who is confused or incapacitated, that motorist is expected to give warnings and take “proper precautions.”

Also, when a driver is stopped at a marked or unmarked crosswalk to let a pedestrian cross, it is illegal for vehicles coming up behind the stopped vehicle to pull up to and pass that vehicle. Unfortunately, our lawyer has seen many situations where drivers violate this rule and cause serious injuries.

Situations Where Pedestrians Do Not Have the Right of Way

The regulations describe many situations where pedestrians must yield to motorists on the road, and they also prescribe rules for crossing streets. For example:

  • Pedestrians may not leave the curb and walk into the path of a vehicle that is so close the driver has no chance to yield
  • Where sidewalks are present, pedestrians may not walk in the road unless required by circumstances
  • Pedestrians may not cross intersections diagonally unless directed by a traffic device
  • If crossing the street in a location where there is a pedestrian tunnel or overhead walkway, pedestrians must always yield to motorists
  • On a block between two intersections with traffic signals, pedestrians may only cross at a marked crosswalk
  • Pedestrians must move to the right half of the crosswalk when practical

When a pedestrian is in an accident after violating one of these rules, the driver is likely to claim that the violation is evidence that the pedestrian’s own negligence caused the accident. However, Florida recognizes through the comparative fault rule that even when an accident victim’s conduct contributes to their injuries, the victim can still recover for the portion of fault attributed to the driver or others involved in causing the accident.

Find Out How an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Can Help

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain, medical bills, time missed from work, and other losses. However, you will need evidence to support your claim, so it is best to consult a knowledgeable lawyer for assistance as soon as possible. For a free consultation and case evaluation with the dedicated team at the Maus Law Firm, contact us now.

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