Walking is a great way to get exercise and to get to where you’re going. However, every year 70,000 pedestrians are injured and over 4,000 others are killed due to accidents. According to the Minnesota Post, about 35% of pedestrian accidents resulted because the driver failed to yield right of way to the pedestrian. In addition to this number, another 25% of pedestrian accidents were the result of distracted driving. This means that the majority of pedestrian accidents in Minnesota are due to driver negligence.
Drivers have a responsibility to yield to pedestrians. The Minnesota Post reports that drivers sometimes rush through intersections, failing to yield to pedestrians. Frustrated drivers should also note that a pedestrian’s failure to be in a walkway doesn’t immediately grant the driver the right to strike the pedestrian. The driver is still required to take evasive action, even if the pedestrian is legally in the wrong for jaywalking.
Yet, pedestrians also have legal responsibilities. Understanding your legal rights and responsibilities as a pedestrian can help prevent future accidents.
According to Minnesota statutes pedestrians are required to obey all traffic control signals. However, not all intersections have pedestrian crossing signals. If this is the case, drivers are required to yield right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks, if there is no signal. Pedestrians, however, must remain within the marked crosswalk. If a pedestrian intends to cross between intersections, he or she must yield right of way to vehicle drivers.
If a pedestrian is walking down the street where there is no sidewalk, he or she must use the left side of the roadway to allow cars to pass. However, if there is an available sidewalk, pedestrians are not allowed to use the roadway and must use the sidewalk.
Finally, pedestrians are not allowed to enter a crosswalk if it is impossible for an oncoming vehicle to stop—even if the signal is in the pedestrian’s favor. For instance, the light may have just turned red on the driver and the driver may simply not have time to perform a safe stop.
When both drivers and pedestrians understand their rights and responsibilities, car-pedestrian accidents can be prevented.
Pedestrians can also take additional safety precautions—such as scanning the road for vehicles before crossing—even if the signal is in their favor. Drivers making right hand or left hand turns may not always be checking for pedestrians. Vehicles may also suddenly enter the road and may not be aware of pedestrians. Pedestrians should also make eye-contact with drivers when crossing the street. Additionally, pedestrians should be aware of any bushes, hedges, or other obstacles that could make it difficult for a driver to see them. Pedestrians should also avoid distracted walking or use of cell phones while crossing the street. Distracted walking can be just as dangerous as distracted driving.
The fact remains that too many pedestrians are injured every year. Personal injury lawyers in Minneapolis, Minnesota help pedestrian victims recover money for their pain, suffering, and injuries. The Law Office of Martin T. Montilino offers assistance to pedestrian car accident victims.