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What Are the Pedestrian Laws in California?

August 25, 2021 Personal injury

Just like drivers, pedestrians in California are responsible for following traffic and safety laws at all times. These regulations reduce the risk of a crash, and when one does occur, the laws regarding pedestrians play a big part in determining who is at fault for an accident. Speak to a San Diego accident attorney for more details. Under California law, pedestrians are required to adhere to the following:

Right of Way Laws in CaliforniaSan Diego accident lawyer

According to California Law, the driver of any vehicle must yield to pedestrians. Pedestrians have the right of way as long as they use a crosswalk and obey Walk and Do Not Walk signs. Motor vehicles must slow down and yield to pedestrians. If an intersection doesn’t have pedestrian signals, pedestrians must obey traffic signals and only cross at a green light when the roadway is clear. Where a crossing signal has a countdown clock, pedestrians can begin crossing when the light is blinking but must reach the other side before it turns steady. If there is no countdown clock, pedestrians are not supposed to enter the crosswalk if the signal is blinking.

Pedestrians also have the right of way when walking on a sidewalk. If a vehicle must turn into a driveway and pass over a sidewalk, the driver must yield to pedestrians. 

Special Rules for Blind Pedestrians

Blind pedestrians using a cane or a guide dog always have the right of way at all intersections. It can be considered a crime if a driver fails to yield to a blind pedestrian, and they may face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. 

Crossing Procedures 

Pedestrians must cross the street safely. If a vehicle is already in the crosswalk, pedestrians must let them pass. They must also not attempt to run through a Do Not Walk sign if traffic is approaching, leave the curb suddenly, or unnecessarily stop or delay traffic. 

Do Pedestrians Have To Use Crosswalks?

If there is a crosswalk at an intersection with traffic lights, traffic signals, or police officers, pedestrians must cross within it. This prevents pedestrians from crossing an intersection diagonally, which is illegal unless there is a crosswalk or a traffic control officer that allows it. Even when diagonal crossings are permitted, pedestrians should take great care to watch for vehicles and only cross when they have the right-of-way.

Failing to use a crosswalk when one is available can result in a ticket for jaywalking. This type of violation is not a crime but can carry a fine of up to $200. 

Crossing Without a Crosswalk 

It’s legal for a pedestrian to cross the road at any point if they are not at a marked crosswalk or an intersection, as long as there’s no traffic. If traffic is present, a pedestrian must yield the right of way to vehicles that present an “immediate hazard.” It’s illegal for pedestrians to leave the curb or sidewalk and enter the path of an oncoming vehicle if the vehicle doesn’t have sufficient time to stop safely. 

If you were in a pedestrian accident due to the negligence of someone else, it is important to contact a San Diego pedestrian accident attorney immediately for legal advice.