An estimated 70,000 pedestrians are injured and nearly 5,000 pedestrians are killed each year in accidents involving a motor vehicle. Florida is in the top 5 states for pedestrian accidents, injuries and fatalities due to our excellent weather and outdoor lifestyles.
Pedestrian accidents happen mainly due to a vehicle operators’ failure to yield the right-of-way, obey the laws regarding crosswalks, and ignoring traffic signs and rules designed to protect runners and walkers.
There are, of course, those unfortunate incidents that occur when a pedestrian fails to obey the laws and rules as well. This can include crossing against the light, jay-walking, and walking in the roadway and into the path of automobiles.
Pedestrian accident victims usually sustain severe, and many times life-threatening injuries when struck by a car or truck. Being injured in a pedestrian accident most times involved extensive medical treatments, surgery, loss of wages, pain and suffering, and long-lasting health problems.
Here are some important answers to questions regarding pedestrian safety and the laws and regulations for walking or running:
When Does a Pedestrian Have the Right-of-Way?
In Florida, pedestrian have the right-of-way on marked crosswalks. Anywhere else where a pedestrian can cross that is not plainly governed by a crosswalk, pedestrians DO NOT have the right-of-way, and must yield to all traffic and vehicles. Be sure to exercise extreme caution when crossing, even if you are in a defined crosswalk. Many drivers will violate the crosswalk (especially when making a right hand turn on a red light), even though the “WALK” sign is plainly displayed. Just because you have the right-of-way doesn’t mean it is recognized, or respected, by many drivers on the road today.
May A Pedestrian Walk in the Roadway?
If there is no sidewalk, a pedestrian MAY walk in the actual roadway, but must face oncoming traffic and walk as far to the left as is reasonable under the conditions. A pedestrian MAY NOT walk on any toll bridge, highway crossing, overpass or tunnel unless the sidewalk width is a minimum of three feet, and there are also signs that indicate walking is permitted.
What is Jaywalking and When Is It Illegal?
Interestingly enough, “jaywalking” is not an actual legal term in the State of Florida. Pedestrians can cross a thoroughfare or street anywhere, provided they yield to traffic. Which a pedestrian, of course, would need to do to survive. Actually, Florida Statutes 3.16.130(10) provide that pedestrians may cross the street at a non-crosswalk, but must yield to traffic in both directions at all times. However, the primary rule that governs pedestrian movement state that a pedestrian cannot cross diagonally, nor at a non-intersection, when they are “between adjacent intersections at which traffic control signals are in operation”.
What Can I Do To Reduce My Chances Of A Pedestrian Accident?
Here are the proven, simple rules to keep yourself safe when walking where automobile traffic is present:
DO NOT take chances when crossing any street or intersection. WAIT until the path is clear. Sometimes a “gap” in the traffic can close quickly, other cars may enter the zone where you are crossing or walking quickly and without warning.
BE CAREFUL using your personal cell phone or device when walking where automobile traffic is present. If you are listening to music or other material, MAKE SURE the volume is low enough so that you can hear a car horn, emergency vehicle and other sounds that can warn you of impending danger. Distracted walking is becoming a larger cause of pedestrian accidents each year.
If you find that you must walk at night, exercise extra caution and wear a reflective vest, bright clothing or carry a pedestrian safety light. These items are all readily available at many stores. And they could save your life!