Pedestrians And The Right Of Way
When the sun is shining and the temperature is warm and welcoming, nothing beats a leisurely stroll around town. Florida, with its tropical environment and high degree of annual sunshine, is considered by many to be one of the most enjoyable places to go for a stroll. That being said, many Florida residents and visitors do not recognize the potential for significant personal injury while out on a casual walk.
Recent reports rank Orlando as first among metropolitan areas with three pedestrian deaths per 100,000 residents, and Florida overall ranked first in the nation with 5,893 pedestrian deaths reported between 2010 and 2019. This data should make it glaringly evident that major risks of personal injury and even death are present for Florida walkers.
While this data may seem scary, walkers typically take solace in the notion that pedestrians have the right of way. However, the situation is actually much more nuanced, as any experienced personal injury attorney will be quick to point out. For Florida residents who routinely walk around town, or prospective vacationers preparing for walks in the sunshine, read on to discover what you should know about the right of way in Florida.
The term ‘pedestrian’ applies to more than just walkers. People in wheelchairs as well as individuals on rollerblades or roller skates are considered pedestrians under Florida law. Bicyclists, however, are not considered pedestrians because they operate a vehicle that functions on the street and therefore must abide by the rules of the road (traffic lights, turn signals, etc.).
The Right of Way
Contrary to popular belief, technically nobody has the right of way. Florida law only specifies who must yield (i.e. give up the right of way) in traffic. Ultimately, every party involved in a traffic situation is responsible for taking reasonable precautions to avoid an accident.
When do pedestrians clearly NOT have the right of way? There are many examples, including:
- Attempting to cross a road anywhere but a crosswalk, unless the pedestrian has already entered the road under safe conditions.
- Crossing a road someplace other than a clear tunnel or walkway that would be the recommended mode of crossing.
- Leaping out into the road without warning.
Comparative Negligence in Florida
It is important for pedestrians to understand that Florida is a comparative negligence state in terms of determining fault in personal injury cases. This means that courts will look at everyone involved in an accident and determine to what extent each party was responsible for causing the accident.
For pedestrians, this means that if the court determines that they acted in a way that violated their right of way, attaining maximum compensation for personal injury damages can be challenging. This is why many pedestrians involved in accidents with motor vehicles work with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you need help with your case, reach out to Payer Law today. Our dedicated Orlando personal injury attorneys can offer you a consultation and begin working on your case right away.