Personal Injury Blog


Does a pedestrian always have the right of way?

To make it simple, no. Pedestrians may have a number of rights, but they have their own rules to follow just as motorists.

The road can be a very dangerous place for people. In 2017, there were almost 6,000 pedestrians killed in the United States, which works out to about one pedestrian death every 88 minutes. Roads in Florida seem to be extra dangerous; the Sunshine State ranks as one of the most dangerous metropolitan areas for pedestrians. 

Pedestrian right of way rules are in place to protect people on the road, whether joggers, runners, hikers, or bystanders. Though pedestrian right of way varies by state, there are some rules that apply to the country as a whole. 

Yield and Stop Signs

Yield and stop signs have their own pedestrian right of way rules. Whether crossing at a crosswalk or an intersection controlled by traffic lights, both motorists and pedestrians are required to obey the instructions of the traffic-control device. If the traffic lights motion for pedestrians to walk, the pedestrians have right of way. The same goes for motorists when they have the light. 

If there is a stop or yield sign, motorists must always yield to pedestrians. The exception to this pedestrian right of way rule is if an officer is directing traffic and allows motorists to pass. 

If a motorist drives past a stop or yield sign and collides with a pedestrian in either a marked or unmarked crosswalk, that is usually enough evidence to show the motorist’s failure to yield to pedestrian right of way. 

Uncontrolled Intersections

At intersections with no traffic-control signs or signals, a driver always must yield to pedestrians in the motorist’s path or any pedestrians that are in dangerous proximity to the vehicle. The driver must slow down for pedestrians or even stop if needed. 

If a pedestrian is approaching closely from the opposite half of the road, a motorist should stop. Some states have specific rules for when a motorist can proceed in this situation. 

Pedestrian Right of Way in Florida

Each state has its own nuances on pedestrian right of way laws. In a state as dangerous for pedestrians as Florida, it’s important to know how to be safe on the road. 

In Florida, a pedestrian must not walk on the road where sidewalks are provided and must walk on the sidewalk. However, a pedestrian can walk on the road if there are no sidewalks provided. When there is no sidewalk, a pedestrian is allowed to walk on the road though it is recommended that they walk only on the shoulder of the left side of the roadway as related to the pedestrian’s direction of walking, facing traffic. Walking towards oncoming traffic reduces the likelihood of the driver not seeing the pedestrian and hitting them, causing an accident. Though pedestrians have the right to walk on the road in the absence of a sidewalk, sharing a road with cars always increases the danger of an accident. Pedestrians should exercise great caution when doing so. 

Here are Some Additional Florida Pedestrian Right of Way Rules to Know

  • A pedestrian is not allowed to walk upon a limited access facility (such as a highway or freeway) or a ramp connecting a limited access facility to another street or highway unless they are maintenance or governmental personnel.
  • Pedestrians have the right of way on a marked crosswalk.
  • Pedestrians must yield to all vehicles while on an unmarked crosswalk. 
  • Pedestrians must obey all traffic signals and cross the road only with a green light. Though the pedestrian right of way rule stands with a green light, pedestrians should also make sure it’s safe to cross since not all motorists will lawfully stop.
  • It is illegal in Florida for pedestrians to solicit a ride, employment, or business from a vehicle on a road for vehicle traffic.  
  • No pedestrian should cross an intersection diagonally unless authorized by traffic control devices

Click here for the full list of 2019 Florida pedestrian right of way statutes.

What If I Violate A Pedestrian Right of Way Law?

If a person is caught committing these above offenses, they can be punished with a pedestrian violation. According to Florida law, the pedestrian can either pay the civil penalty and delinquent fee or elect to appear before a designated official. The pedestrian violation fee is $15. 

If a motorist violates a pedestrian right of way law and hits a pedestrian, it can cause severe injuries or worse. With nothing between your body and the front or back of a motor vehicle, it’s not surprising that accidents involving pedestrians can be so deadly. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a traffic accident while walking you may be entitled to compensation. 

If you have been injured or have lost a loved one who was a pedestrian hit by a car, our skilled bicycle and pedestrian accident lawyers will be ready to fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

Know Your Rights | Lowman Law Firm Blog

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