Traveling on Foot: Everything You Need to Know About Pedestrian Rights and What to Do in a Pedestrian Accident
It's great to walk where you need to go- the fresh air and exercise have massive appeal. However, foot traffic and vehicles can make a dangerous mix. It's often frustrating to be a pedestrian and feel like cars are passing so close you can touch them. On the flip side, drivers can find navigating streets full of pedestrians challenging.
To avoid accidents, all traffic needs to know the pedestrian laws of the area. It's also helpful to understand what to do in the event of a pedestrian accident. If you've been in such an accident recently or would like to educate yourself about pedestrian laws in Northern Arizona, keep reading for a complete guide that covers everything you need to know.
A dangerous assumption to make is that pedestrians always have the right of way. Depending on your whereabouts, the right of way changes between foot traffic and vehicle traffic. The following section covers Arizona pedestrian laws as well as specific city laws.
Jaywalking is a term for illegally crossing the street. In Arizona law, the specific term “jaywalking” is not used outright, though the topic is covered.
The law states that in areas that lack a crosswalk, those on foot may still cross the street, though they must do so in a responsible manner. This means that the pedestrian must yield to cars; look both ways and wait until there is adequate time to cross the street without cutting off any vehicles.
It's important to note that in instances where a crosswalk is available close by, pedestrians must use the crosswalk, rather than cross where they find it convenient. Runners are also considered pedestrians and must adhere to the same rules.
Instances Where Pedestrians Have the Right of Way
Two areas of consideration must be examined to understand when pedestrians have precedent over cars: crosswalks and sidewalks.
Some crosswalks have traffic control signals, while others do not. In crosswalks that do contain traffic signals, pedestrians must wait until they are directed to cross when all vehicle traffic is stopped.
In crosswalks that lack traffic signals, pedestrians have the right of way. Vehicles must slow down and yield to all foot traffic waiting to cross. Cars may still go through these crosswalks if a pedestrian is on the other half of the roadway, though they must do so carefully. In all instances, pedestrians must exercise caution and not dart out in front of vehicles; wait until traffic has slowed, stopped, or is clear to cross.
Sidewalks are built to keep foot traffic safe, though many pedestrians do not use them correctly. Arizona law states that pedestrians must use sidewalks when they're available. Foot traffic is not allowed to walk along a roadway if a sidewalk is present, even if they are not directly in the traffic lane. In a sidewalk's absence, pedestrians are required to walk on the shoulder in the opposite direction of traffic to ensure visibility.
Sidewalk law applies to hitchhikers as well. Any pedestrians waiting alongside a roadway to be picked up (such as hailing a taxi or waiting for a ride share) should do so from a sidewalk when available, or shoulder or curb when absent.
Know the City Laws
While Arizona has pedestrian laws, it's important to understand that cities have specific laws that pertain to foot traffic as well. For example, pedestrian laws for the City of Flagstaff can be found here.
Not all laws are uniform everywhere you go, though similarities are often likely. Be sure to know the rules of the area you live in, and abide by city laws wherever your travel takes you.
Can Pedestrians Be at Fault in an Accident?
Pedestrians can be the cause of an accident, even if they suffer more severe injuries. The following are instances of pedestrian negligence that may result in a pedestrian accident:
- The pedestrian does not wait until traffic is clear enough to cross a street that does not have a crosswalk
- The pedestrian leaps in front of traffic, not giving oncoming cars enough time to stop
- The pedestrian is intoxicated at the time of the accident and therefore does not act responsibly
- The pedestrian is distracted while navigating traffic, such as looking down at a phone
For foot traffic to avoid being responsible for an accident, it's important to be vigilant. Be aware of your surroundings, know the traffic laws in your whereabouts, and always exercise caution. Avoid impairment or distractions while crossing streets, and of course, always look both ways.
Proving Liability in Pedestrian Accidents
Determining fault in accidents between pedestrians and vehicles is intricate. For this reason, it's best practice to hire an experienced personal injury attorney. A good attorney will help you recover evidence from the accident that proves the other party's negligence. Examples of evidence that can be used in this type of personal injury case include:
- Photographs that were taken at the scene
- Eyewitness testimony
- Statements from all parties involved in the accident
- Video surveillance that captured the incident
- Data from the vehicle “black box”
- Any relevant cellphone records
- Medical documentation and bills from treating injuries
Evidence is critical in proving liability, and consulting with the right lawyer will take much of this burden off of your shoulders. Injuries from pedestrian accidents can be excessive, and the bills from treating these injuries can add up. A personal injury lawsuit will help you receive compensation and ensure that your care is paid for, but not from your pocket.
Building a strong case begins at the accident itself. First, get yourself to safety. If you're able, make sure the police are called and that they arrive at the scene. Also, take pictures of the incident if possible. Most importantly, reach out to an attorney in a timely fashion and be sure to treat all of your injuries without delay.
Get the Best Personal Injury Attorney in Northern Arizona on Your Side
The traffic volume is increasing in Northern Arizona, giving rise to instances of negligent driving. When accidents happen, know that Glazer, Hammond & Ruben, PLLC is a law firm that will help you through the aftermath. Personal injury attorney Keith Hammond has over 30 years of experience and a well-known reputation in Arizona. He and his team will work hard to gather all evidence, walk you through the process, and ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
If you've been injured in a pedestrian accident, know that there are safe steps forward. Get in touch with Glazer, Hammond & Ruben, PLLC and let them fight your personal injury case for you.