Understanding Pedestrian Crosswalks


There are many misconceptions about California crosswalk laws, leading many people on foot to believe they have the right-of-way in almost every situation.

Unfortunately, many pedestrian accidents result from this common assumption. With a lack of protection from oncoming vehicles, the person on foot will most definitely suffer the brunt of the collision.

Therefore, people need to understand some important information on pedestrian crossing rules in California.

Overview of California Crosswalk Laws

Under the California Rules of the Road, a motorist has a duty to yield right-of-way to a pedestrian who is walking within the crosswalk. This rule does not extend to a person on foot who has not yet entered the intersection, which is the subject of much confusion – and how many pedestrian accidents happen.

In addition, pedestrian crossing rules in California place a duty upon walkers as well. If you are on foot, you have an obligation to watch out for your own safety.

The statute specifically prohibits a pedestrian from suddenly jumping off the curb into a crosswalk where traffic is moving. Plus, you cannot unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while in a crosswalk.

Generally, these are common sense rules, but pedestrian accidents still happen with disturbing frequency.

How Pedestrian Fault Can Impact a Claim

There can be unfortunate consequences if you were hurt in a pedestrian accident and were not looking out for your own safety. California has a rule called “comparative negligence” which affects your claim if you were partially at fault in the incident which caused your injuries.

Your compensation amount could be reduced by the percentage of negligence attributable to your own acts. Examples of how comparative negligence rule can affect your claim include:

  • Entering a crosswalk when a driver cannot reasonably avoid hitting you;
  • Stopping within a crosswalk without good cause;
  • Engaging in distracting conduct, such as texting or using your phone while within the crosswalk; and,
  • Many other forms of negligence.

Tips on Staying Safe While Using a Crosswalk

As a general tip, you should always exercise reasonable caution when approaching a crosswalk. Specific recommendations include:

  • Be aware of your surroundings;
  • Put the phone away and remove earbuds;
  • Stand on the curb as you wait to cross, instead of the adjacent roadway;
  • Check all traffic signals and wait for the “Walk” sign, if one is present;
  • Keep all personal possessions close to your body, so you do not drop something while crossing;
  • Wait for traffic to clear, including cars that may be traveling behind a vehicle that has stopped for you;
  • Cross the street as quickly as possible, without stopping or delaying; and,
  • Keep looking in both directions as you cross, just in case an oncoming motorist does not notice you.

Call Now to Set Up a Free Consultation with a Pedestrian Accident Attorney

If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, you may be able to seek compensation for your losses. It is wise to retain an experienced lawyer to represent you, especially since insurance companies can be difficult to deal with in the claims process. To schedule your no-cost consultation, please contact The Wakeford Law Firm by calling 415.569.7495 or by filling out our contact form.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.