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Pedestrian Right Of Way Has Specific Conditions


Many people jump straight to the—not unreasonable!—assumption that when it comes to people on foot, outside, the pedestrian always has right of way. And to be sure, there are plenty of situations on the road where is legally the case. However, it’s important to remember that the pedestrian right of way is not a legal blanket that covers every single situation and always puts the driver at fault.

The most extreme example would be if a driver is obeying all traffic laws, slowly cruising down a residential street at the recommended speed limit when a teenager, standing on the hood of a parked car, jumps from that car onto the vehicle and then rolls off after impact. Just because the teenager was a pedestrian, this does not automatically mean the driver was at fault, especially if a dash cam records the event and clearly shows the teenager deliberately jumping into the path of the car. Pedestrian or no, this does not mean an automatic criminal charge or personal injury lawsuit for the driver.

A Delicate Matter

Right of way for pedestrians exists for two reasons. To instruct pedestrians on the ways they are expected to conduct themselves on the street, and to acknowledge, within a legal framework, that flesh and bone is, in physics terms, simply not as durable as a vehicle, and will lose in a confrontation with vehicles every single time.

When it comes to crosswalk areas, pedestrians rule. A pedestrian that is traversing a crosswalk area, whether it is marked, or unmarked always has the right of way when they are making a legal crossing. In other words, a street corner with lights that clearly indicate a pedestrian can walk has the right of way. A pedestrian at a four way intersection with a stop sign, who arrives first, looked both ways, then crossed the street also has the right of way.

Avoiding The Road

When a sidewalk is available, a pedestrian must always walk on the sidewalk. If a sidewalk is available and a pedestrian chooses to walk on the road, that pedestrian is now surrendering right of way. To deliberately avoid a sidewalk, when it is available, means a conscious revocation of right of way privileges.

However, when there is no sidewalk available, a pedestrian may still walk on a road, but only retains right of way privileges under certain conditions:

– If no sidewalk is present, a pedestrian may walk on the shoulder of a road. However, in order to retain right of way, a pedestrian must go to the LEFT shoulder of the road, not the right, and walk down the shoulder facing oncoming traffic, so as to be able to see approaching cars.

If a pedestrian chooses to walk on the right shoulder, and is unable to see cars coming from behind, this may involve a suspension of right of way privileges. This does not mean that a pedestrian can get hit on the shoulder of the road and the driver faces no legal repercussions. What it does mean, however, is that a driver may now have more legal grounding on which to argue that he or she is not necessarily at fault.

Of course, most of this depends on the circumstances behind an accident with a pedestrian, and what proof is available when it comes to determining fault. But if you ever find yourself in an accident where you were not in a vehicle, and you know the other person in the vehicle was at fault, then consider taking legal action. Talk to a lawyer well-versed in pedestrian accidents and see what your next legal steps should be.

Read The Florida Laws For Pedestrians And Roadways

Attorney David Goldman has a strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and those with the means should do what they can to bring justice in all areas of our society. That belief has led him to help Florida's injured from being taken advantage of by corporations and insurance companies. Since 1989 David Goldman has been fighting for the rights of Floridians both as an attorney and by personally supporting our community.

Pedestrian Right Of Way Has Specific Conditions

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh




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