Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way?

by William Mattar | March 12th, 2021

pedestrian crossing signSome drivers and pedestrians think that pedestrians always have the right of way. Is this true?

Both drivers of motor vehicles and pedestrians have rules to follow while using the road. Despite this simple truth, there is often a misconception that pedestrians always have the right of way.

When Do Pedestrians Have the Right of Way?

When do pedestrians have the right of way? The most common time is when a pedestrian enters a marked crosswalk in accordance with a traffic control signal. Even if the crosswalk isn’t marked, a pedestrian has the right of way, as long as he or she is obeying traffic control devices. Motorists must always yield to pedestrians if there is a stop or yield sign. If a motorist is involved in a collision after driving past a stop or yield sign, it is usually evidence of the driver’s failure to yield right of way.

In New York, state law says that pedestrians have the right of way in cases where there aren’t traffic signals. When motorists must cross a sidewalk to access a driveway or parking lot, they must yield to pedestrians on the sidewalk or walkway.

However, the law also gives motor vehicles the right of way when there isn’t a crosswalk. The law is broad and states that pedestrians must yield to motor vehicles when crossing any roadway, other than in a marked crosswalk or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. Further: “No pedestrian shall cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by official traffic-control devices. When authorized to cross diagonally, pedestrians shall cross only in accordance with the official traffic-control devices pertaining to such crossing movements.”

While drivers on the road are not required to give the right of way to pedestrians in all situations, they are required to exercise due care. This essentially means that drivers should be cautious around pedestrians, even when they’re crossing the street illegally. Drivers should always avoid pedestrians in the roadway, and if they fail to see that which is there to be seen, resulting in a pedestrian strike, they can be held liable.

It is important for pedestrians to follow the traffic control devices and cross within the intersection. If this is not possible, it is vital to ensure there is no traffic is oncoming.

Just as drivers should avoid distractions while driving, pedestrians should avoid distractions while crossing a road. Looking at a cellphone, listening to loud music, talking with friends, or eating or drinking are all things that can distract us from our surroundings. To maintain total focus on the road, drivers should avoid looking at their phones, playing deafening loud music, talking with friends, or eating and drinking.

When it comes to crossing the street, both drivers and pedestrians have responsibilities and legal obligations. Be sure you are aware of your responsibilities. If you’ve been injured crossing a roadway, you may have options in terms of being compensated for what happened to you.

Hurt in a Car vs. Pedestrian Accident? Call William Mattar.

If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, speaking with an experienced injury lawyer can help, as they will be able to point you in the right direction. Contact the pedestrian accident injury lawyers at William Mattar today for your free consultation. 844-444-4444.