What Do You Need to Know About Florida’s Pedestrian Laws?
Walking is a great way to exercise, spend time outdoors, and save a little money on gas. However, drivers and pedestrians need to be aware of Florida’s pedestrian laws to maintain everyone’s safety and promote a safe flow of foot and vehicle traffic. Every party is responsible for acting according to the rules and taking measures to prevent accidents.
In the unfortunate circumstance that a collision occurs, the success of your personal injury case can hinge on whether you were correctly following the pedestrian safety guidelines when the accident occurred. If you were taking risks or unnecessarily put yourself in harm’s way, your injury settlement may be reduced or denied. Read on to learn more about Florida’s pedestrian laws, or contact Galimidi Law at 305-692-0125 to schedule a free case evaluation with a knowledgeable pedestrian accident lawyer who can address your questions.
Where Can You Find a Listing of Florida’s Traffic Laws Regarding Pedestrians?
Section 316.130 of Florida’s Uniform Traffic Control laws covers pedestrian traffic regulations. For the purpose of these laws, a pedestrian is defined as “any person afoot.” In practice, this definition is usually extended to include individuals in wheelchairs, on skateboards or roller skates, or using foot-powered scooters.
These laws specify who has the right-of-way in different situations. They also outline actions pedestrians and drivers can and cannot take while on the roadways. Two further sections of the law give special regulations for driver interactions with pedestrians who are blind or have mobility impairments.
What Responsibilities Do Pedestrians Have Under the Law?
While pedestrians are provided certain protections under the law, they also share part of the responsibility for preventing dangerous situations and accidents. While pedestrians still risk being struck by a negligent driver any time they are near a street or in a crosswalk, they can lower the probability of a collision by acting safely and predictably. Rules Florida pedestrians must abide by include the following.
Mandatory Sidewalk Usage
It is illegal for a Florida pedestrian to walk in the street if a sidewalk is available. Blocked sidewalks are an exception, and a pedestrian may carefully step into the street to avoid the blocked area but must resume use of the sidewalk as soon as it is practical.
If no sidewalk is present, a pedestrian may walk on the shoulder of the road, facing oncoming traffic. Under these circumstances, the walker should use all common-sense safety precautions and avoid impeding traffic flow.
Adherence to Traffic Control Signals
A pedestrian must follow the guidance of traffic control lights and crosswalk signs unless a police officer is directing traffic. If there are no pedestrian-specific traffic signals, you should follow the direction of traffic lights, just as you would if you were in a vehicle. Crossing when you have a red light is not only illegal, it puts you at risk of being struck by oncoming traffic.
Prohibitions Against Specified Actions
The law also lists many behaviors pedestrians are prohibited from engaging in, such as:
- Crossing diagonally at an intersection.
- Running into traffic.
- Crossing mid-block if there are marked crosswalks present at the intersections.
- Failing to take the most direct path when crossing a road.
- Standing in the road to solicit a job or ride.
- Standing in the way of vehicles that are parking or preparing to park along a street.
- Passing under or around railroad or bridge gates into prohibited areas.
- Jumping or diving from publicly owned bridges.
Who Has the Right of Way?
Drivers and bicyclists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who are in or are about to enter a crosswalk on their side of the road, whether the crosswalk is marked or unmarked. Cars must not pass so close to pedestrians that they could present a hazard to the individual, even if they have crossed onto the other side of the roadway. If a vehicle is stopped for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, cars behind them cannot attempt to overtake them. Drivers must also yield to pedestrians on sidewalks and driveways when entering or exiting the road.
Pedestrians should only enter a signalized crosswalk when the “walk” signal is indicated and any vehicles within the crosswalk have exited. If a pedestrian is crossing in an area without crosswalks, they should yield the right of way to oncoming traffic. In urban areas with an overhead or subway crossing nearby, the pedestrian should opt for the safer path, and they will not have the right of way if they choose to cross at road level.
Additionally, Florida drivers are always responsible for exercising due care to avoid a collision with a pedestrian, regardless of where they are in the roadway. This includes giving a warning, such as honking their horn, if a pedestrian is in or near their path. Drivers should take special care around children or obviously confused or incapacitated people near the road to avoid potential accidents.
How Can an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Assist You if You’ve Suffered Injuries?
A pedestrian accident can leave you with significant bodily damage and hefty medical bills. Car insurance companies will often try to place all the fault for the accident onto the pedestrian by claiming they did not exercise proper caution or were crossing illegally. While pedestrians should always follow state law when walking near roadways, drivers also have a duty to drive safely and take reasonable actions to avoid striking a pedestrian. Motor vehicle operators and bicyclists can be held liable if they don’t exercise due care when approaching pedestrians.
If you or a loved one have been hurt while walking in Florida, our experienced lawyers at Galimidi Law can provide the skilled legal counsel and advice you need. Contact our law firm today at 305-692-0125 to schedule a free consultation to learn about your rights and options for recovering compensation.