Do Jaywalkers Have the Right of Way?

group of people crossing the street, two people walking outside of the crosswalk

"Pedestrians have the right of way" has been a longstanding conviction of the masses for years. This idea often comes with the notion that a pedestrian can cross at any point in the road or walk in the street without repercussions.

There is also the expectation that a motorist will always be at fault should a pedestrian accident occur. However, this might not always be the case under California state law.

Jaywalking is Illegal in California

Pedestrians in California should yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic when crossing the street outside of a marked crosswalk. 

Do Pedestrians Have the Right of Way if They Are Jaywalking in California?

Per Vehicle Code 21955 VC, pedestrians are prohibited from crossing anywhere on a California road except at a designated crosswalk, between two police officers, or at intersections with traffic lights. If none of these are present on a given street, the pedestrian must yield to any oncoming traffic.

This would mean that at any given time, a jaywalker is not considered to have the right of way and can be ticketed if approached by an officer.

At the start of 2023, Californians will not be cited for jaywalking unless it's evident that they are creating a hazard.

What If a Jaywalker is Hit by a Car in a California?

If a jaywalker happens to be involved in a pedestrian accident, it may not always be the motorist's fault. Since both pedestrians and drivers in California are responsible for avoiding accidents, a jaywalker who did not yield to oncoming traffic or a motorist driving unsafely could be considered negligent. This would mean that a fault could be placed on either party for insurance and legal purposes.

Regardless of whether you are the pedestrian or driver, having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side could make all the difference in receiving a fair settlement.

Aggressive Newport Beach Representation

If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident and suffered an injury, our Newport Beach personal injury attorneys are here to help. With over 100 years of combined experience and millions recovered for clients, we are confident that we can achieve the best possible outcome.

Call (800) 783-5006 or visit our website to schedule a consultation.

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