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Who has the right of way at a crosswalk?

| Jan 8, 2021 | Bicycle safety

Some say that drivers show good etiquette when they “share the road” in California. Sharing involves driving safely and respecting other vehicles. Pedestrians at crosswalks also have their right to public streets, and drivers need to be aware of their presence. Impatient drivers could present risks to people going about their business on foot. Sometimes, drivers commit moving violations that compromise safety and, in some instances, may inflict harm.

“Right of way” factors into what is legal

“Right of way” refers to a legal term describing who may go first. At a crosswalk, common traffic sense and the California code could reveal who has the right of way. A traffic signal might help establish the facts without ambiguity. If a driver has a green light and the pedestrian faces a red light, the driver would have the right of way. When the driver approaches a crosswalk, the California code points out that the pedestrian has the right of way to cross. Drivers may not impede the pedestrian.

Once the pedestrian is out of the way and the “coast is clear,” a driver may proceed with caution and perform a legal turn or travel straight ahead. Drivers that block a pedestrian might violate the code and could increase the chances of an injury.

Rules for the pedestrian

Pedestrians are not allowed to block or impede a driver, and it may not be the driver’s fault if a pedestrian darts from the curb in front of a moving vehicle. Drivers must still follow applicable laws and may share negligence when speeding or not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign. Threatening a pedestrian who blocks the road by menacingly nudging a vehicle forward might be highly egregious.

California law establishes rules for the right of way at a crosswalk. Crosswalk motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians could lead to a negligence suit depending on the circumstances.