In a busy world where people seem to be in a hurry a great deal of the time, many of whom are distracted by technology, such as cell phones, GPS devices, MP3 players, and other devices, pedestrians take their lives into their hands every time they hit the road. Anyone moving about on the roadways on foot, in a wheelchair, on a skateboard, or on roller skates is considered a pedestrian. While it is the responsibility of motorists to do everything in their power to avoid collisions with pedestrians, there are rules of the road for pedestrians as well.
Choosing Where to Walk
When pedestrians walk facing oncoming traffic, they have the best opportunity to see and keep an eye on vehicles bearing down on them, as well as to make eye contact with drivers to be sure they have been seen. If the roadway has no sidewalks, it is recommended pedestrians walk on the same side of the road as the oncoming traffic they are facing. In North America, this would be the left side of the road. When walking where there is no sidewalk, it is important that the pedestrian stay as far from the edge of the roadway as possible.
Where sidewalks are present on both sides of the road, pedestrians may choose to use the sidewalk on either side of the road, and walk either toward or away from oncoming traffic, as they are separated from the traffic lanes. In the event the road has a sidewalk on only one side, pedestrians should walk on that sidewalk, whether they are facing or their back is to oncoming traffic.
Walking Single File
Walking on a wide sidewalk provides ample room for friends to walk side-by-side, enjoying the relative safety of their separation from the roadway. When walking on a road with no sidewalks, however, pedestrians should walk single file, which helps them stay as far away from traffic as possible. This is all the more important on a curvy or winding roadway, where vehicles have only a couple of seconds to see pedestrians and react to avoid hitting them.
Pedestrians should make it a habit to remain on one side of the path they are walking, rather than weaving around, walking from side-to-side, or darting closer to the roadway unexpectedly. Even a careful motorist who has seen a pedestrian is in danger of colliding with someone who darts near, or into the roadway without warning.
While many motorists consider pedestrians to have the right-of-way all of the time, this is not an absolute principle. In Florida, pedestrians are required to cross at marked crosswalks, or within an unmarked crosswalk at a controlled intersection, obeying all traffic control signals and signs. Even when using such a marked crosswalk, ensuring the pedestrian light is green, pedestrians should look both ways, making eye contact with drivers to ensure they are seen, before crossing.
Florida law requires that pedestrians crossing where there is no marked crosswalk must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the roadway, and must cross using the shortest straight line to the opposite curb. All pedestrians should keep in mind that, even when using a marked crosswalk and obeying traffic signals, motorists may be distracted, not noticing pedestrians at the corner or in the crosswalk. This is especially dangerous when the vehicle is making a right-hand turn at a red light.
Seek Legal Counsel Today
For nearly 20 years, the attorneys at The Fernandez Firm have successfully represented thousands of individuals throughout the state of Florida, and are available to answer your important legal questions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your lawyer can obtain all of the information needed to win your case, such as witness statements, medical records, and expert witness testimony. If you or someone you love has been injured in a pedestrian accident and would like to learn more about your legal rights, call The Fernandez Firm at (800) 222-8163, or fill out a case evaluation form on their website.