Can a Pedestrian Be at Fault in an Accident?
It’s a bright and sunny day. You’re minding your business and taking a walk when all of a sudden, WHAM! A car runs into you and sends you flying. Before the dust even clears, you hear bystanders talking about who was at fault. Your head swims, and your legs hurt. It couldn’t possibly be your fault, right? Wrong!
Just like motorists, pedestrians have rights and responsibilities when it comes to sharing the road and preventing accidents. Whether you’re in a vehicle or on foot, if rules of the road are not followed, you could be at fault.
What is Pedestrian Responsibility?
Pedestrians have a responsibility to follow all rules for walking, crossing, and moving in the same space as motorized vehicles. What do these rules include?
Marked Crosswalks: Pedestrians may cross when the signal indicates they may walk. Crosswalks may not be used to walk against oncoming traffic at any time. If a pedestrian is in a marked crosswalk when the signal indicates walking may occur, no cars may violate that space. This applies even when they are turning right if close to a pedestrian.
No Crosswalks: Pedestrians must yield right of way to all vehicles on the road. Pedestrians may not cross when traffic is present.
Sidewalks: Pedestrians are obligated to remain on the sidewalk at all times.
Common Causes of Pedestrian/Vehicle Accidents
Much of the time, a pedestrian/vehicle accident can be avoided. Here are common causes of pedestrian caused accidents:
– Distracted walking, such as walking and texting.
– Crossing in the middle of a street with oncoming traffic.
– Crossing an intersection incorrectly.
– Intoxication from alcohol or drugs.
– Walking in high traffic areas where pedestrian access is forbidden, including bridges and highways.
Determining Pedestrian Fault
If a pedestrian/vehicle accident has occurred, several factors will go into determining which parties are at fault. Findings usually result in one of three options: At fault, shared fault, or no-fault.
If a pedestrian is at fault, he or she will be found in violation of road rules while the driver was not. Examples of this are:
– Running across the road in heavy traffic.
– Darting into an intersection when the indicator instructed no walking.
Shared fault occurs when both the pedestrian and the driver share responsibility for the accident. Example of this include:
– The pedestrian crossed in the middle of the street, and the driver was speeding.
– The pedestrian was walking and texting, and the driver was drunk.
If the pedestrian is found to follow all rules of the road, was in the correct area, and responsibly navigating, a no-fault ruling will be likely.
The Bottom Line
When it comes down to it, pedestrians have just as much of a responsibility as motorized vehicle drivers. So when you’re out walking down the street or jogging around the corner, make sure you are keenly aware of your surroundings and the rules you should follow.
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