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When Do Pedestrians Have (and Not Have) the Right of Way?

Many people walking in the city center in Vienna

We’ve all heard the old adage that “the pedestrian has the right of way.” But is that actually true? Do pedestrians always have the right of way in California? Like most pieces of common wisdom, the truth is more complicated. Read on to learn about the right of way for pedestrians on California streets. If you’ve been hurt in a pedestrian accident, call a dedicated Agoura Hills car accident and personal injury attorney.

Pedestrians Do Not Always Have the Right of Way

The short answer is: No, pedestrians do not always have the right of way. In fact, pedestrians only have the right of way under certain circumstances. According to California Vehicle Code section 21950, drivers must yield the right of way to pedestrians only when:

  • The pedestrian is crossing the road in a marked crosswalk
  • The pedestrian is crossing the road in an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection

If a pedestrian is crossing the road in a spot other than one designated location for crossing, then the pedestrian does not have the right of way. If a pedestrian is in a designated location, then any drivers approaching the pedestrian must reduce the speed of their vehicle, exercise due care, and take any other appropriate actions to protect the safety of the pedestrian.

Do Pedestrians Owe a Duty to Motorists?

Pedestrians owe duties to drivers and others on the road as well. Even if a pedestrian is crossing at a designated crosswalk, they must still exercise due care to ensure their safety. Pedestrians must not suddenly leave the curb or other place of safety and dart into the road when a vehicle is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. Pedestrians must also not necessarily stop or impede traffic, even in marked or unmarked crosswalks. Although pedestrians have the right of way in a crosswalk, if they negligently or recklessly cause an accident by running into the road in the path of a vehicle unsafely, they may be held liable for any resulting injuries.

If you or someone you care about has been hurt in a pedestrian accident in Southern California, call a seasoned and talented traffic accident attorney at the Halpern Law Firm. We fight for the compensation you and your family deserve. Contact us at (818) 785-5999 today. These cases are handled on a contingency basis, meaning you won’t be charged any attorney’s fees unless we win.

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