Other duties of a pedestrian include the requirement to walk close to his or her left-hand side of the roadway unless a crosswalk or other safe means of crossing to do so isn't an option.

The California legislature has in place a policy that in all levels of state government, and particularly in the Department of Transportation, pedestrians are to be given safe and convenient travel and access on all streets and highways, stressing an ongoing reduction in pedestrian accidents. This applies to foot traffic, wheelchair, walker or stroller travel.

Drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in a marked crosswalk and to those within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. Under the law, speed must be reduced and any other action that will help safeguard the person or persons crossing a street must be taken. Cars driving across a sidewalk to access a parking garage or driveway must wait for a pedestrian to pass before proceeding.

It should be noted, however, pedestrians have certain responsibilities for their own safety. Being yielded a right-of-way by a vehicle doesn’t eliminate the obligation for someone on foot to use due care when crossing a street. For example, a pedestrian may not suddenly step off a curb and walk or run into the path of a car creating a hazard. For those crossing outside of a marked crosswalk or intersection, they must cede the right-of-way to motor vehicle traffic.

A totally or partially blind individual always has the right-of-way. If a motorist fails to yield to someone utilizing a white cane with a red tip or a guide dog, a misdemeanor may be charged. Penalties range from up to six months in jail to a minimum fine of $500, or both.

Other duties of a pedestrian include the requirement to walk close to his or her left-hand side of the roadway unless a crosswalk or other safe means of crossing to do so isn’t an option. Walking on highways or freeways may be prohibited by local authorities or DOT if signs saying so are posted. Hitchhiking by standing in a roadway is against California law.

When the unfortunate happens and a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, police will undertake a thorough investigation of the circumstances. If there is an indication that a driver has violated any of the California Vehicle Code provisions, charges may be filed. This may strengthen a victim’s position if legal recourse is the right option to aid in recovery.

Source: California Department of Motor Vehicles, “California Vehicle Code Division 11 Chapter 5 Table of Contents” Oct. 02, 2014

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