Pedestrian or Motorist: Who Has the Right of Way?

Car Accident

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In a traffic accident involving a pedestrian, the pedestrian is far more vulnerable to serious injuries. These pedestrian cases often come down to who has the right of way at the time of the accident, and it is not always as clear cut as you might think. Keep reading to learn more.

No, Pedestrians Do Not Always Have the Right of Way

It is a common misconception that pedestrians always have the right of way. While motorists are always responsible for proceeding with caution and care in relation to the circumstances on the ground – including pedestrians in their midst – this does not mean that motorists never have the legal right of way when pedestrians are involved. Further, as a pedestrian – even when you have the right of way – always make safety your number one priority and respond appropriately to the traffic around you.

If You Are at a Crosswalk that Has a Traffic Signal but Has No Pedestrian Signal

You may enter such a crosswalk on a full green light (not a green arrow) but must refrain from crossing when the light is either yellow or red.

If You Are at a Crosswalk that Has a Pedestrian Signal

When it comes to crosswalks with pedestrian signals, the following apply:

  • If the pedestrian signal indicates that it is time to walk, you may proceed into the intersection.
  • If the signal reads Wait or Don’t Walk, you are required to remain on the curb.
  • If you have already entered the intersection when the signal changes to Wait or Don’t Walk, you must proceed to safety – whether that is a safety island or the curb ahead.

If You Are at a Crosswalk Where There Is No Signal

If there is no signal at the crosswalk you are using, you must yield the right of way to any motorists on the road who do not have time to safely yield to your presence in the crosswalk. As drivers approach crosswalks, they are required to yield the right of way to any pedestrians that are on the same side of the road that they are driving on – or who are close enough to that side of the road to be at risk of injury. Finally, if you cross anywhere other than a crosswalk (whether marked or unmarked), the motorists already on the road maintain the right of way.

Motorists Entering the Roadway

Anytime that a motorist enters a roadway from an alley, from a driveway, or from a private road, that motorist owes any pedestrians crossing in front of his or her vehicle the right of way.

An Experienced Attorney Can Help

If a motorist’s failure to yield the right of way leaves you injured, Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is a formidable personal injury lawyer who has extensive experience helping clients like you successfully recover on their full range of damages. We are here for you, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.

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