When you are walking and you need to cross the road, you may think that it’s acceptable to do so as long as there are not cars coming, or you might think you’re fast enough to dash across the street faster than oncoming cars. When you cross the road where there’s no crosswalk or marked intersection, it’s known as jaywalking and it’s not only hazardous, but it’s actually a crime.
Jaywalking puts pedestrians at risk of serious injury. Crossing the street in an area where it’s not safe can cause debilitating injuries or even death, and unfortunately, victims of jaywalking accidents are often children. It’s important to know the laws in California regarding jaywalking in order to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
California Laws on Jaywalking
The main California law that applies to jaywalking is Vehicle Code 21955, which states that pedestrians are not allowed to cross the road anywhere other than a crosswalk between adjacent intersections controlled by traffic lights or by police officers. If a pedestrian has to cross the road somewhere other than a crosswalk, he or she must yield the right of way to vehicles that are close enough to be hazardous.
While laws pertaining to jaywalking are intended to keep both pedestrians and drivers safe, it isn’t likely that you would actually be arrested for jaywalking. However, if a crosswalk is available nearby, a law enforcement officer could give you a ticket for crossing the road without having the right of way.
Staying Safe as a Pedestrian
As a pedestrian, it’s important to keep in mind that motor vehicles are much larger than you are and are moving considerably faster than you are. Safety tips that both you and your children should keep in mind when walking in addition to obeying jaywalking laws include:
- Obey all traffic signals.
- Always stop before crossing the street.
- Look both ways before crossing the road.
- Make eye contact with drivers stopped behind the crosswalk to make sure they see you.
- Never assume the driver will give you the right-of-way.
- Stay in well-lit areas
- Wear bright clothing, and if it’s after dark, wear reflective clothing
- Stay alert. Pay attention to everything that’s going on around you, and don’t wear headphones in order to drown out noise nearby.
- Avoid consuming alcohol or other substances before walking in public places.
Injured While Jaywalking?
Drivers and pedestrians share the responsibility for paying attention and trying to avoid accidents. In California, comparative negligence is considered in order to determine fault in an accident. This means if you were the injured party, it would have to be determined the amount that you were at fault for the accident.
Since jaywalking is illegal, you would probably be found to be at least partly to blame. This doesn’t mean you couldn’t receive any compensation for injuries in a jaywalking accident. You may need to work with an attorney to help minimize the perceived amount of your responsibility for the accident.
Getting Legal Help After a Pedestrian Accident
If you have been injured by a vehicle when you were a pedestrian whether or not you were jaywalking, it’s a good idea to consult a personal injury lawyer. Even though it may seem very clear to you that the other party was at fault, you may be found to be partly or mostly responsible.
An expert in the field of personal injury law can help to present your side. Fill out the form on this page in order to get in touch with Megeredchian Law. A member of our legal team will get back to you soon to set up a free case evaluation.
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