Right-of-Way for Pedestrians and Cyclists
Pedestrians and bicyclists almost always have right-of-way on the roads. While true, this statement has created confusion for some drivers and carelessness by some pedestrians. If you hit a pedestrian or cyclist, contact a personal injury attorney immediately. A thorough defense for your actions relies heavily on quick action to determine your side of the story. While you might not be charged with a criminal act, you could still face a lifetime of paying off a settlement or judgement.
Pedestrians do have the right-of-way. Everywhere. In the middle of the street, crossing against a green light, in a parking lot. However, this doesn’t mean you can be held responsible for any and all injuries you cause.
Let’s use the example of a pedestrian crossing against your green light. He is breaking the law. However, it’s in the middle of a bright, sunny day and you are more than 100 feet away from the intersection. As the driver, you have plenty of time to stop the vehicle. And because you are alert (and not looking at your cell phone) you have to give him the right-of-way.
Can he be ticketed by a police officer for jaywalking? Yes.
In a similar scenario (he is crossing and you are 100 feet away), you are texting while driving and therefore distracted by your phone. You don’t see him and you hit him. You will be held responsible for hitting him. You are breaking the law by using your phone, and while he also broke the law, the legal system still puts most of the blame on you — the person driving the two-ton car.
So let’s change the situation. You are driving (undistracted) and as you approach the intersection, the pedestrian walks out suddenly. He is on his phone and doesn’t bother to see if there are any cars coming. You hit him. Here, you won’t face much responsibility. You didn’t have the opportunity to give him the right-of-way.
Right-of-way is a legal construct that can shift and change in just a few moments. Don’t assume that the police or the insurance companies are concerned about your legal or financial future. Contact a lawyer to ensure your story is equally entered into all decisions about personal injury cases against you.