What every Florida walker should know to be safe and legal
Pedestrian accidents are included in the most fatal type of accidents along with head-on collisions, roll-over crashes and bicycle accidents. Pedestrian accidents can also result in serious injuries. While drivers have a responsibility to pay attention to prevent accidents on the road, pedestrians have equal responsibility to stay alert while walking on sidewalks or crossing the road. In this article, accident lawyer, Jeffrey Meldon discusses some rules of the road for pedestrians.
Information you should know to be safe while sharing the roadways with vehicles:
- Any person afoot is a pedestrian. This includes a person in a wheelchair or roller skates.
- Aside from maintenance or governmental personnel, a person may not walk upon a limited access facility (highway or freeway) or a ramp connecting a limited access facility to any other street or highway.
- According to Florida Statute §316.130, where sidewalks are provided, a pedestrian must not walk on the road, but should walk on the sidewalk.
- Where a sidewalk is not provided, a pedestrian can walk on the road. (Warning, always be cautious and remember that sharing roadways with cars always places one in greater danger.) When a sidewalk is not provided, a pedestrian should walk only on the shoulder on the left side of the roadway as related to the pedestrian’s direction of walking, facing the oncoming traffic. (A driver and a pedestrian who face each other are more aware of each other’s presence, and this reduces the likelihood of any kind of accident.)
- Cyclists are not considered pedestrians, thus roadway cyclists are required to travel on the right.
- Pedestrians have the right of way on a marked crosswalk; a pedestrian crossing a road at any point other than within a marked crosswalk must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles. (When crossing, a pedestrian should look left, right and left again to ensure that he or she has a safe way to cross.)
- Pedestrians must obey all traffic signals and cross a road only when a pedestrian light is green. (However, even when a green light is on, a pedestrian must still make sure that the cars are stopping.)
- Even when a pedestrian has right-of-way, not all cars will stop. A driver may be distracted and not notice a pedestrian or a traffic light, so a pedestrian should make eye contact with the drivers before crossing a road to ensure they see him/her. After checking that the light is green and that it is safe to cross, pedestrians should move upon the right half of crosswalks (Florida Statute §316.130(13)).
- Florida law prohibits a person to stand on the road paved for vehicular traffic to solicit a ride, employment, or business from the occupant of any vehicle. In addition, a person cannot stand on or near a street or a highway to solicit the watching or guarding of any parked vehicle or a vehicle about to be parked on a street or highway.
- A violation of the above mentioned laws is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a pedestrian violation. According to Florida Statute §318.14(4) & (5), a person may either elect to appear before a designated official or pay the civil penalty and delinquent fee, if applicable, either by mail or in person, within 30 days after the date of issuance of the citation. Per §318.18, the amount of penalty for a pedestrian violation is $15.
Safety always comes first. Stay visible and wear clothes with reflective material at night. Stay out of blind spots. Always be alert – even wearing the headphones may decrease your ability to hear horns or noise from the oncoming traffic. Following the law, paying attention, and being aware of one’s surroundings will help one avoid dangerous situations and injurious, or even fatal, accidents.
* The content of this publication is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Please feel free to contact our office for a free consultation today.
How the Attorneys at Meldon Law Can Help
We at Meldon Law strongly believe that public education is the first step in the prevention of an accident or in the recovery from one.
We are experienced personal injury attorneys, trial lawyers, negotiators, litigators, paralegals, and staff that have been proudly working to get accident victims the justice they deserve for over 40 years in Gainesville, Ocala, Lake City, Inverness, and the rest of North Central Florida and North Florida. Accidents involving a car crash, truck wreck, and motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian accidents, dog bites, slip and falls, medical malpractice, and criminal defense are all included in our practice.
Based on Jeffrey Meldon’s, founder of Meldon Law, over 40 years of helping accident victims get justice and a fair shake from the insurance companies, he has written the consumer guide book, Seven Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Florida Accident Case. You can request your free, no obligation copy right now, or contact our office for your complimentary copy sent to you today.
Contact Meldon Law at (800) 373-8000 or (352) 373-8000 immediately if you have been involved in a serious auto, truck, or motorcycle accident. We are in your community, have the experience and resources required to work towards obtaining a fair settlement for you – we are here to help you.