Just recently, a hit-and-run driver struck a Hollywood pedestrian who was crossing the street near the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and Normandie Avenue. Although the pedestrian used the crosswalk, the driver neither saw the person walking nor stopped to help. KABC reports that the car’s lights were turned off.
Although just one example of the types of crosswalk accidents that happen so frequently on Southern California roads, it highlights that there are dangers for pedestrians – even when they do everything right. Adding insult to injury, some of the dangers are hidden.
- Unclear laws. Caltrans notes that the California Vehicle Code and Streets and Highway Code forbid bicyclists from riding in crosswalks. There is, however, the exception for marked multi-use paths where bicyclists may act as pedestrians. The nature of the marks is not always clear. This lack of clarity endangers pedestrians.
- Incomplete protection. Although you are protected when stepping out onto a crosswalk, the protection does not cover you until you step onto the sidewalk on the other side of the street. Motorists only have to stop while you are walking in front of them. They are then free to continue through the crosswalk after you passed. This may cause other drivers behind these vehicles to believe that there is nobody in the crosswalk.
- Patchwork of codes. The vehicle code gives pedestrians the right to cross roadways in marked or unmarked crosswalks. Nevertheless, the state has given “local authorities” the right to draft ordinances that curb this right. If you are visiting a municipality outside of the area where you live, you may be in violation of the law and not even know it. Worse, drivers may expect you to not cross at a road that – otherwise – you might have been able to legally cross in your home town.
- Tricky timing. You cross the street on green. Yet did you know that you have the duty to yield to cars that are within the intersection when the signal changes? While you may believe that the car has to stop, it is actually you who must wait for the car to move.
- “Multiple threat.” California officials are familiar with the threat that occurs when a vehicle is properly waiting for you to walk through a crosswalk while another vehicle in the next lane over is failing to stop. Since you are visually obstructed by the car that has stopped, another driver may not even realize that you are there.
If you have been the victim of a crosswalk accident, protect your legal rights, and get all the help you need to recover from any injuries. Contact us today for more information.