Pedestrian Safety

PedestriansPedestrians

The laws regarding pedestrian right-of-way may seem simple, but there are some common myths out there that can make these rights somewhat confusing. Heads Up Utah lists some facts.

1. Pedestrians DO have the right-of-way when crossing at a cross walk; it doesn’t matter if the location has a painted crosswalk or not. However, just because a signal indicates that you may walk, doesn’t mean that it is safe to walk. Always check for traffic before walking.

2. Pedestrians may cross the street at any location, unless prohibited.

The thing to remember here is that you DON’T have the right-of-way when crossing the street where designated crosswalks do not exist. You must yield to traffic in these circumstances.

3. Sometimes drivers, even if they see a pedestrian in a crosswalk, will try and speed through. Heads Up Utah suggests not putting your safety in the hands of motorists.

Jaywalking constitutes crossing the street illegally or recklessly. In Utah, it is illegal to cross the street when the steady hand signal appears at the crosswalk, though many pedestrians are not aware of this. It is also illegal to cross most areas of the TRAX rails.  Recklessly crossing the street includes crossing multiple lanes of traffic and stopping in the center lane. NEVER do this, as the center lane is used as a turn lane for vehicles. It is likely that a vehicle will not see you in time if you are in the center lane.

Motor Vehicles

The NHTSA claims that speeding is the number one cause of 32% of fatal vehicle crashes, and many of these are pedestrians. Rear-ending another vehicle at a high speed can total your car, cause severe injuries, or even prove fatal. But the chances of death are much lower in this situation than in the instance of hitting a pedestrian at a high speed. Hitting a pedestrian will change your life, even if the accident isn’t fatal. Follow the speed limit and be aware of your surroundings. As a motorist, it is imperative to follow all the rules in regards to pedestrians.

1. Motor vehicles must always yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, regardless of the situation.
Even if pedestrian is breaking the law by walking in a crosswalk with a steady “Don’t Walk” signal, you must yield to them.

2. When turning right on a green light, you, as a motorist do not have the right-of-way to pedestrians. You must stop and check for pedestrians before turning right.

3. Though you are allowed to turn right on a red light, you must come to a complete stop behind the crosswalk line. Check for pedestrians on both sides, and then proceed if clear.

4. Remember that pedestrians sometimes don’t pay attention, but that doesn’t give the motorist the right-of-way. Especially around crosswalks, you as a motorist, need to be cautious for any pedestrian that might enter the street.

5. When in residential or school zones, be aware that children often come out of nowhere, and run into the street. The speed limits are low in these areas for this very reason, and following them could mean life or death for a child.

Texting while driving, or engaging in any other distracting behavior while driving can have profound consequences. Sometimes children or even adults enter crosswalks, sure that the driver will see them. If the driver is paying attention and not speeding, he will see the pedestrians in time to stop. But let’s not forget that horrible incident, reported by Fox 13, that occurred in May when a 28-year-old male hit three children in a crosswalk in Midvale. The driver was going way above the speed limit, and was texting when the accident occurred. Thankfully the girls are all okay.

At Christensen & Hymas we want you to be safe as a motorists, pedestrian, or bicyclist. If you have been injured, or a loved one killed, in a pedestrian accident, we can help you get the compensation you deserve. Please call us at (801) 506-0800.

Photo copy right of Cyron.

Ken Christensen
Partner, Founder at Christensen & Hymas
Ken Christensen is the founding partner of Christensen & Hymas. He is an avid cyclist, loves baseball, and enjoys spending time with his family in the outdoors.

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