Pedestrians often have the right-of-way when they use public roads, but they don’t always have it. There are rules of the road pedestrians have to follow for their safety. If they’re broken, and it results in a pedestrian accident, the pedestrian could be held liable.
If you want to get compensation after your accident, you need to follow the rules so that you don’t get accused of negligence. While you can make a claim if you’re partially liable, it will be much less if you are, and you could get nothing. Here’s what our lawyers say you need to know.
Pedestrians may cross at marked or unmarked crosswalks, but only when signals show that it’s safe to do so. If a crosswalk has pedestrian signals, you cannot enter when the signal says not to do so. It’s also illegal to loiter within the crosswalk and hold up traffic.
Cars, in turn, have to slow down or stop for any pedestrians in a crosswalk. It’s also illegal for cars behind a car yielding to pedestrians to drive around and pass the stopped vehicle. However, pedestrians also have to give cars enough time to stop before entering the crosswalk. Modern pedestrian signals have a countdown timer to tell walkers how long they have to cross.
If you are crossing at a roundabout, the rules are the same. The cars in the roundabout have to yield to pedestrians, and pedestrians must wait for signals or until it is safe to cross before entering the roadway.
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Jaywalking is the act of crossing outside of a crosswalk or intersection, usually straight across a street. This is legal in Arizona, but there are rules that pedestrians have to follow to stay safe and avoid liability.
First, pedestrians have no right-of-way when jaywalking. Walkers must yield to all vehicles. Also, if there is an intersection nearby with working signals, you must use the designated crosswalk to cross. This is where drivers will expect pedestrians to cross.
You must yield the right-of-way even if there is a pedestrian tunnel or an overhead crossing. You might have to cross into the street to use these. For more information on jaywalking, see ARS § 28-793.
What about walking alongside the road? If there is a sidewalk, pedestrians must use it. Unlike bicyclists, who must use the road, pedestrians are required to use a sidewalk. What if there is no sidewalk, though?
Pedestrians must walk on the left side of the road facing traffic. This is the safest way for pedestrians and drivers. Both can see each other coming. Consider wearing reflective clothing if you have to walk on the street after sunset to improve your visibility.
Finally, if you’re walking down the road and seeking a ride, you cannot do it while standing on the road. However, it is legal to do it from a curb or a sidewalk. See ARS § 28-796 for details on the laws for pedestrians and sidewalks.
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Pedestrians in school zones should always cross through the yellow crosswalk lines and follow the instructions of any traffic guards. Drivers need to follow all the orders of the crossing guard. Children can be too small to see from a driver’s seat!
Pedestrians also have the right-of-way when crossing in front of a bus. Children may have to cross the road to get home after school. School buses have flashers and signs to tell other drivers not to approach. Never pass a stopped school bus! You could hit a child.
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Don’t assume that if you’re a pedestrian that the laws on negligence will swing to your side. If you’ve broken any of the laws above while you were walking, you could be held partially or totally liable for your pedestrian accident.
You can also be held liable if you were intoxicated at the time of the crash or if you were distracted by an electronic device. These actions could make you drift into the road and right into the path of a car that cannot stop.
However, do not assume you’re at fault before you speak with a pedestrian accident lawyer! You need someone on the outside who knows the laws to determine who is at fault. Zanes Law can help you understand your legal options after a pedestrian accident. Contact us to find out if you have a case.
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