The number of pedestrians killed in automobile accidents increased by an estimated 10% in 2015. Florida is one of the top three states in the U.S. for pedestrian deaths caused by motor vehicles. By the end of 2016, there will be over 8,000 accidents involving pedestrians and an estimated 500 pedestrian fatalities in the state of Florida. In the City of Lake Worth, there have been an increasing number of pedestrian accidents over the past couple of years as well.
WHAT IS THE LAW REGARDING PEDESTRIANS CROSSING THE ROAD?
A pedestrian is anyone who is traveling by foot, which includes a person on a skateboard, roller skates, or in a wheelchair. Motor vehicles must give the right of way to pedestrians when they are on a marked crosswalk. Moreover, pedestrians must use a crosswalk to cross the street if it is present. Failure to do so is a traffic infraction, punishable by a fine. Pedestrians must also follow all traffic indicators and only enter the road in a crosswalk when the signal permits. Pursuant to Florida law, if a sidewalk is present, then pedestrians must travel upon it and not walk on the roadway. However, if there are no sidewalks, pedestrians may “when practicable, walk only on the shoulder on the left side of the roadway,” although they should do so with proper caution. Florida Statute § 316.130.
WHAT IF THERE IS NO CROSSWALK?
It is far less likely that a person will be struck by a car if using a crosswalk than if the person crosses the road at an unmarked point. Common sense tells us that drivers are more likely to be alert for pedestrians when the road is marked for their crossing. This is why Florida law requires that pedestrians “crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.” Florida Statute § 316.130(10). If a pedestrian is entering a road without a crosswalk, then that person should not cross quickly or without warning.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I GET HIT BY A CAR ON THE ROADWAY AND I AM NOT IN A CROSSWALK?
All drivers have a duty of care to pedestrians on the roadway. Drivers cannot simply ignore pedestrians crossing the road if they are not in a crosswalk. When a driver injures a pedestrian through the lack of due care, then the driver may still be liable for the injury even if the pedestrian was not in a crosswalk. While a pedestrian who is injured while improperly crossing a road may share fault with the driver of the vehicle, it does not absolve the driver of any blame. Drivers must take proper precautions to avoid injuring pedestrians.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a pedestrian accident. it is very important that you act quickly. My office will help you collect the evidence, and we will help you file all the necessary paperwork to determine if you can receive fair and adequate compensation for your injuries. Call 1-800-FLA-LAWYER now.