Pedestrian safety is a serious issue across the country, and even in Los Angeles, where more of us seem to drive cars than walk. It’s important to note, however, that a pedestrian is more than just a person walking on foot. According to the California Driver Handbook, a pedestrian can also include a person using a conveyance like skates and skateboard (but not a bicycle).
In California, pedestrian deaths make up 17% of all traffic fatalities and nationally, pedestrian fatalities are on the rise (with over 4,000 deaths in the last survey). While it may seem that pedestrians always have the right of way, and therefore drivers of automobiles are always in the wrong when there is an accident, this is not always the case.
Where do pedestrians have the right of way?
Generally speaking, Los Angeles pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks. While many city intersections have a clearly marked pedestrian crosswalk, some do not, which means drivers need to take extra care and drive attentively when on Los Angeles roads. In West LA, for example, the only notification of a crosswalk are a few blinking lights, sometimes not even at an intersection! This leads us to point at that while crosswalks are often located at street corners, they can also be located in the middle of the block.
If a pedestrian is crossing the street NOT in a crosswalk, he or she may be considered the negligent party if an accident occurs. As a pedestrian, it is a wise idea to look for a crosswalk and use it while crossing the street, especially at a busy intersection. To be clear, while pedestrians do not always have the right of way, it does not give drivers a free pass to hit or injure pedestrians with their vehicle.
Los Angeles drivers should read these five safety tips to avoid getting in a pedestrian accident:
1. Be on the lookout for a pedestrian, whether at a crosswalk or otherwise.
2. Stop before you get to a crosswalk.
3. Yield to pedestrians even if they are not crossing the street properly.
4. Allow older people, disabled people, and young children plenty of time to cross the street.
5. Don’t pass vehicles that are stopped at a crosswalk.
For more information on pedestrian accidents, including how to avoid them, contact an experienced accident attorney at BIKLAW today.