FORT WALTON BEACH PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY
Pedestrian Accidents or Accidents While Walking on or near the Road
The Northwest Florida Daily News reports that a 36-year-old Shalimar man was flown to Sacred Heart Hospital Tuesday night in critical condition after being struck by a car in Shalimar. The individual was crossing the road about 7 p.m. at the intersection of 7th Avenue and 4th Street when he stepped in front of a car, according to the Florida Highway Patrol media release. The driver of the car was not injured. The accident is under investigation.
Our thoughts and prayers are with this man and his family. We hope he has a speedy recovery.
As we reflect on what happened here, it begs the question: How well do you know Florida’s pedestrian-related traffic laws?
Right-of-way: No one has the right of way in Florida. The law only says who must yield the right-of-way. Every driver, motorcyclist, bicyclist and pedestrian must do everything possible to avoid a crash
Drivers Must Yield to Pedestrians Who Are Legally In Crosswalks:
A crosswalk is where drivers are expected to yield (if possible) to pedestrians. Pedestrians may cross elsewhere, but outside a crosswalk, they are required to yield to vehicular traffic.
The Pedestrian Does Not “Always Have the Right-of-Way”
No-one “has the right-of-way.” The law only defines who is required to yield the right-of-way, or “give way.” Pedestrians attempting to cross mid-block are required to yield right-of-way to vehicle drivers on the roadway. Pedestrians at crosswalks at signalized intersections must yield if they face a red signal or steady Don’t Walk signal. Drivers approaching crosswalks – either marked or unmarked – must yield to pedestrians who are legally in the crosswalk and approaching closely enough to be in conflict. Drivers entering a public street from a private driveway must yield right-of-way to a pedestrian approaching on the sidewalk or roadway, just as one yields to other traffic.
Pedestrians cannot enter the crosswalk at any time they wish. Pedestrians must give drivers adequate time and distance to react and stop.
There is No “Jaywalking” Law
Jaywalking is not a legal term. It is not found in Florida statutes and has no legal meaning. Jaywalking is a term coined in the early 1920s during campaigns to get traffic laws changed in the favor of automotive companies. Their strategy was to put the blame on pedestrians who continued to walk the streets in the way they had for centuries – crossing wherever and whenever they wished – before the automobile became popular. A “jay” was someone from the country who didn’t understand “big city” ways. So a jaywalker” was someone the city folks could poke fun at for being ignorant. This is well-documented in the book Fighting Traffic by Peter Norton.
Some actions that people call jaywalking – such as crossing against a red light – are illegal. But crossing mid-block, which is also called jaywalking, is not illegal in most locations.
Here are some helpful tips for pedestrians:
- Look to the left and the right before stepping off any curb.
- Cross only at intersections or designated crosswalks. Drivers are always more alert for pedestrians when they approach intersections.
- Cross with the green light or “WALK” signal. Make sure you have enough time to cross. Although the motorist must yield, the motorist may not see you in time.
- While walking along a highway, always walk on the shoulder on the left side, facing traffic. Wear light colored clothing or use a flashlight to make you more visible to drivers at night.