Are Pedestrians and Drivers Equal in The Eyes of The Law?

While most people know all about driving laws that pertain to time spent out on the road, unfortunately, few know about laws that apply to pedestrians. In fact, pedestrians are actually expected to follow a number of rules while out walking near traffic centers, and if you’re a driver or a pedestrian who doesn’t follow these rules, you might find yourself in some legal hot water, or worse, injured.

Which Rules Apply to Pedestrians?

Just like drivers, pedestrians must obey all legal traffic lights and signals. For instance, if a pedestrian comes to an intersection, he or she must wait until the crossing light allows for approved crossing in order to be within the law. If a pedestrian disobeys such a signal and is struck, odds are that the liability will be with the pedestrian. In addition, pedestrians who are crossing the street must cross at approved points, such as crosswalks. Once again, failing to do so may lead to an accident, and the fault will likely be placed on the pedestrian.

Pedestrians and Drivers

Laws Regarding Yielding

While pedestrians typically have the right of way in traffic situations, there are some instances where they do not. For example, in Indiana, pedestrians must use sidewalks where available, but when no sidewalk is present and the pedestrian is walking on the side of the road, he or she must then yield to motor vehicles. On the other hand, drivers must always yield to a blind pedestrian in all circumstances, regardless of where the pedestrian is walking.

Tougher New Laws

The fact is, annually almost 5,000 pedestrians are killed in accidents across the nation, and this has led states to enact tougher new laws to deal with the problem. For example, in Indiana, a law was passed in July of 2011 that made it illegal for pedestrians to dart out into traffic at crosswalks.

New Indiana pedestrian laws were passed because in Indiana alone, hundreds of pedestrians are injured or killed each year. Part of the cause for these injuries and fatalities has been the impatience of pedestrians at crosswalks, and this impatience has resulted in pedestrians trying to make it across the roadway without a proper signal.

The Cost of Pedestrian Accidents

Because most pedestrian accidents involve a pedestrian and a motor vehicle, the odds of such an accident yielding costly injuries is quite high. Even at slow speeds, collisions between motor vehicles and pedestrians can yield broken bones, and at high speeds, such accidents can lead to brain trauma, internal organ damage or even death. Additionally, injuries suffered during an accident with a motor vehicle may lead to tens of thousands of dollars in medical costs, lost wages from work and more.

In our world of technology and fast paced living, it is more important than ever to be mindful of moving vehicles while walking in the city or on urban roads. As pedestrians we face many dangers and it is our responsibility to know the laws in our state. While walking in the city, don’t assume that the drivers will give you the right of way. This is not always the case and it is important that you are cautious and obey your state laws. The urban roads are also dangerous, so be cautious and aware of moving vehicles at all times.

Guest Author: Kelly Kovacic is a paralegal who stays on top of the latest personal injury laws and contributes articles for the legal community. Indiana pedestrian laws have recently become tougher due to an increase of injuries and even deaths. The Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. has the experience and tenacity to help anyone who has been injured as a pedestrian in Indiana.

Image Credit: Flickr

Comments are closed.