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Walk or Don’t Walk?

Posted by attorney James Dodson

Florida Traffic LawsPedestrians & Drivers Need To Know

What are the duties of pedestrians? If a pedestrian is walking along a road where sidewalks are provided, they should not, under normal circumstances, walk on the paved part of the road designed for vehicle traffic. If the pedestrian finds themselves on a road where a sidewalk is not provided, he or she should walk facing oncoming traffic using the shoulder to the left of that traffic. (Note: bicyclists are required to travel on the right in the direction of the traffic). No one on roller skates or riding on any other device, such as a scooter or toy vehicle, should go on the paved part of the road except while crossing the street in a crosswalk. In doing so, they are subject to the same rights as a pedestrian, but also with the same responsibilities. When is a driver required to stop or yield to a pedestrian? - Drivers are required to stop for a pedestrian who is in a crosswalk marked with signals or signage. - Drivers must yield to a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk which has no signs or signals or in an unmarked crosswalk. - Where traffic signals are present, pedestrians should not cross the road at any place other than a crosswalk. - Drivers cannot pass or go around a vehicle stopped at a marked or unmarked crosswalk. A driver making a right turn on red must yield to pedestrians crossing the intersecting road or proceeding as directed by a traffic device.

What is an unmarked crosswalk? Most intersections in Florida have unmarked crosswalks. They exist when two intersecting roads having sidewalks or a walking path intersect. The unmarked crosswalk would be the extension of the sidewalk or walking path if extended across the adjacent road. What are common factors involved in pedestrian accidents? The majority of pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas and involve pedestrians crossing outside of crosswalks away from intersections. A study showed that many of these accidents were affected by alcohol used by the driver or the pedestrian or sometimes both. What does comparative negligence mean in Florida? Florida is a “comparative negligence" state, which simply means the conduct of each party to an accident must be looked at to determine if they contributed to the accident. This means deciding who was “at fault" is often not simply an “either/or" proposition. It is possible a driver may be found at fault, a pedestrian could be at fault, or both the pedestrian and the driver acted in such a way they contributed to the cause of the accident.No one should assume a case may not be brought on behalf of the pedestrian, even if they were found to be “at fault" by those investigating the accident. Nor should it be assumed no case may be brought if law enforcement decided not to file charges against the driver involved in a pedestrian accident. These cases should be examined by a knowledgeable, experienced pedestrian injury lawyer.

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