Please be advised that the following topic is for informational purposes only and not a legal matter currently handled by our firm. If you need further assistance regarding this particular topic, you can contact your local Bar Association for a referral to an attorney who may be able to address your inquiry in more detail.
October is National Pedestrian Safety Month, so we thought we’d celebrate by helping you stay informed about pedestrian safety in California.
Many cities in California are great for walking and exploring the sights. With the beautiful weather, fun attractions, and breathtaking landscapes, who wouldn’t want to walk around and enjoy?
Unfortunately, California ranks as one of the most dangerous states for pedestrians. In a recently released national study, California came out among the top 10 states for pedestrian deaths. Some of the deadliest cities in the state include Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, Sacramento, and Riverside.
So what’s the problem?
Many believe that the issue is that California prioritizes motor vehicle movement over pedestrian movement. In other words, people think they crack down harder on people crossing the street than they do on negligent drivers.
But this is soon to change with California’s new ruling on jaywalking. Starting January 2023, jaywalking will no longer be illegal so long as people are still mindful and cross safely.
This ruling comes after CalBike sponsored a campaign to eliminate unjust jaywalking tickets. It’s not just that Californians believe jaywalkers are particularly targeted, but that jaywalking tickets were particularly being used as an excuse to over-police Black and Latinx Californians.
No matter who is doing the jaywalking though, it is important that everyone—pedestrians and motorists alike—be more mindful of their actions to avoid causing accidents.
If you or someone you love is injured in a San Francisco pedestrian accident, contact the team at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers for assistance. We’ll help you file your claim and ensure your rights are protected.
Common Causes of California Pedestrian Accidents
Every day, thousands of people are killed in pedestrian-related traffic accidents. In 2020, the NHTSA reported over 6,500 pedestrian deaths. Unfortunately, as California’s new jaywalking law has yet to take effect, it’s difficult to discern whether this will increase or decrease pedestrian accidents in the state.
Overall, the majority of pedestrian-related accidents are due to driver negligence. Of course, pedestrians, too, can be at fault. But more often than not, these accidents are the result of people who are driving recklessly or not paying enough attention.
- Driver distraction
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Fatigued driving
- Not checking blind spots
- Failing to look before turning or backing up
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
California Pedestrian and Motorist Laws
According to California Vehicle Code 21950, motorists must yield the right of way to pedestrians crossing the road within a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
However, with the new jaywalking law allowing pedestrians to cross the road even when there is no crosswalk, this could make things a bit confusing. As of now, there is no guarantee how exactly these situations will be handled.
Still, even though pedestrians are gaining more freedom and right of way, this does not excuse them from crossing roads recklessly. They must still cross with care and consideration for their safety.
This means they cannot:
- Leave the curb suddenly
- Walk or run into the immediate path of an oncoming vehicle
- Unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while crossing the road
But motorists as well must also take precautions to avoid hitting pedestrians. This means they must avoid speeding, yield the right of way, and pay attention to pedestrians that may be crossing the road or are about to cross the road.
California Pedestrian and Motorist Safety Tips
Driver Safety Tips:
- Keep an eye out for pedestrians at all times
- Be extra cautious in low-visibility conditions
- Slow down or be prepared to stop when nearing a crosswalk
- Follow the speed limit
- Double-check before making turns or backing up to ensure a pedestrian is not in your path
Pedestrian Safety Tips:
- Only cross where you are legally allowed to do so
- If crossing the road, do not do so if it would put you in the immediate path of a vehicle
- If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic
- Double-check for oncoming cars even when you have the right of way to cross
- Try not to cross the road in poorly lit areas
- Be mindful of vehicles that are exiting or entering driveways
- Do not walk directly behind a car that is backing up unless you know they see you and have stopped
We Handle Your Accident Claim So You Can Focus On Your Life
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, our team can assist you. We know how devastating the aftermath of a pedestrian accident can be. Let us help you navigate your claim so you can focus on rest and recovery.
At Sally Morin, we care about the people of California and work hard to ensure our clients get the full settlement they deserve. Call us at 877-380-8852 or contact us online today for a free case evaluation.