California Car Accident Law: Car vs. Pedestrian in a Crosswalk

This article is a continuation of our previous topic regarding common pedestrian injuries. We’ve previously covered the issues of car and pedestrian standard of care, pedestrian injuries at intersections, vehicle speeding, and illegally parked vehicles. This article will be dealing with injuries sustained by a pedestrian while using crosswalks, walking outside a crosswalk, and walking on the side of a street.

If you have some questions regarding pedestrian injuries, or you want to discuss a case involving pedestrian injuries, feel free to contact a local personal injury attorney. Many car accident attorneys offer free consultations.

Pedestrian Crossing Within Crosswalk

Under the law, a crosswalk is defined as:

The portion of a roadway included within the prolongation or connection of the boundary lines of sidewalks at intersections where the intersecting roadways meet at approximately right angles, except the prolongation of such lines from an alley across a street.

Any portion of a roadway distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface.

CA Vehicle Code Section 275

The right of way is granted to a pedestrian who is crossing the street using a crosswalk. A driver must yield to a pedestrian who is using the crosswalk. Pedestrians, however, are still expected to exercise due care for their safety.

A pedestrian is well within his rights to expect that a driver will obey the law. He/she cannot be faulted for failing to anticipate that a driver will break the law. For example, say a pedestrian who uses a crosswalk sees an oncoming vehicle. The pedestrian continues to cross the street even though the car is moving at high speed. In this case, there is no negligence on the pedestrian’s part.

A pedestrian is considered to be walking within a crosswalk even if the pedestrian is walking just outside a crosswalk. A few feet difference is immaterial; the law still considers the pedestrian to be walking inside a crosswalk in this case. For example, a pedestrian who walks one or two feet outside the crosswalk is still deemed to be using the crosswalk and cannot be considered negligent.

When the crosswalk has traffic signals, a pedestrian is forbidden under the law to cross the street when the light is red. However, a pedestrian cannot be faulted if the light turns to red while the pedestrian is in the middle of the crosswalk, so long as the pedestrian crossed the road while the light was still green.

To learn more about California car accident law visit or call a California personal injury attorney for a consultation. While this article provides general information on car accidents involving pedestrians at crosswalks, there’s no replacing legal advice tailored to your specific situation.

Published by Adam Garcia

I'm a bankruptcy attorney in Northern California. I help individuals in financial distress achieve a fresh start through bankruptcy.

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