What are Florida's Pedestrian Laws?

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Introduction

In this article, we will cover what the Florida pedestrian accident laws are, and how they impact your ability to make a personal injury claim after an accident.

Florida is the most dangerous state in the country for pedestrian accidents. A combination of factors led to this result. Florida developed in a way focused on car transportation. Pedestrians are the minority on the roads and car drivers often aren’t careful enough to avoid them. There is also a lot of traffic in Florida, including tourists and visitors who may not be aware of their surroundings. Autos move at high speeds through complicated intersections with multiple lanes. Pedestrians are at risk in Florida.

In general, Florida's pedestrian laws require pedestrians and vehicles to be careful. So pedestrians should always be alert to the dangers of crossing roads. Florida also has specific statutes that explain the right of way rules that govern pedestrians. These rules are discussed in detail below. Some of the most important ones are about crossing streets and walking on sidewalks. 

If you are struck by a vehicle or bicycle when you’re walking you will probably be injured. You will want to call an ambulance or seek medical treatment immediately. You should then contact a Gainesville car accident lawyer who handles pedestrian accidents. An attorney can explain your rights and help you to get a better financial recovery than is possible if you try to handle the case yourself. Whenever you’ve been injured because of someone else’s fault, it is best that you focus on your physical recovery and let a personal injury handle the aggravations of getting insurers and the at-fault person to compensate you. You may think you can handle the case yourself, but the insurers will try to take advantage of you.

Some of the most frequently asked questions we hear from pedestrians are about the issues of right of way laws and tickets for jaywalking. Keep reading below for our discussion on these hot topics.

Understanding Florida's Pedestrian Accident Laws: Florida is the Most Dangerous State for Pedestrians

A recent report has found Florida to be the most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians. The study calculated a pedestrian danger index for each state. The danger index was based on the number of pedestrian fatalities in the state divided by the state population. The calculation also takes into account how many people typically walk to work in the state. 

Florida had 5,433 pedestrian fatalities between 2008 and 2017. That average to 2.73 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 population. Florida’s pedestrian danger index was calculated to be 182. The national average pedestrian danger index was only 55.3. The next most dangerous state, Alabama, had a 145 danger index. 

Florida cities also accounted for eight of the top 10 most dangerous cities for pedestrians in the country.

  1. Orlando-Kissimme-Sanford
  2. Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach
  3. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville
  4. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton
  5. Lakeland-Winter Haven
  6. Jacksonville
  7. Bakersfield, CA
  8. Cape Coral-Fort Myers
  9. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater
  10. Jackson, MS

The fatality statistics don’t even tell the whole story of the risk to pedestrians. There are many pedestrians who are injured but not killed. For example, in a 2016 CDC report noted there were 5,987 pedestrian fatalities in the U.S. In the same year 129,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency rooms for non-fatal crash-related injuries.

Pedestrian accidents can be some of the worst types of traffic accidents. This is because pedestrians have none of the safety protection that drivers of automobiles have. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration collects data on all kinds of traffic accidents in the country. They found that 21% of the people who die in traffic accidents in Florida are pedestrians. Pedestrians also deserve to be protected. Many people do not have the means to own a vehicle. They are forced to walk to work. Other pedestrians are just trying to get outside and enjoy life. It is important that both pedestrians and drivers be aware of the heightened risk to pedestrians.

Pedestrian accidents often cause serious injuries. Pedestrians don’t have any protection. When they are struck by a vehicle very bad injuries often result. This is even more true now that many drivers are in large trucks or SUVs. Pedestrians can suffer from numerous different types of injuries including:

  • Head injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Pelvic injuries
  • Bone fractures
  • Cuts and lacerations

Since Florida has so many pedestrian accidents and since pedestrian injuries are so severe, it’s critical that you understand your rights as a pedestrian in Florida.

In many situations, pedestrians have the right of way over vehicles. But that’s not always the case.

Understanding your rights under Florida's pedestrian laws is important so you can be safe when you walk or run near traffic. It’s also important if you’ve been injured and are considering filing an injury claim.

Even with the best information on the pedestrian laws in Florida, you should be careful when walking in Florida. There are many tourists and unsafe drivers on the road. They may not understand the right of way laws as well as you do. Be careful and enjoy being outside.

Florida Pedestrian Statute 316.130 

Under Florida's pedestrian laws have a general duty to exercise reasonable care and caution. Florida's pedestrian laws dictate how pedestrians should behave in traffic situations. The Florida State Uniform Traffic Control is the law governing traffic. Section 316.130 is the section specifically on pedestrian laws. Some of its main rules are the following:

  • A Pedestrian is defined as anyone “afoot.” This includes walkers, runners, skateboarders, and people on roller skates or in wheelchairs. It does not include bicyclists.
  • Pedestrians must obey pedestrian traffic signals unless a police officer is directing the traffic at that intersection and tells them to proceed.
  • Where there are no specific pedestrian traffic signals, pedestrian must obey the other pedestrian rules.
  • If there are sidewalks present, pedestrians must use the sidewalks and not walk along the roadway.
  • If there are no sidewalks, pedestrians may walk on the shoulder or edge of the road. Whenever possible, the pedestrian walking along the road should be on the left side of the roadway facing on-coming traffic. This allows the pedestrian to see vehicles approaching and protect him or herself from impact.
  • Pedestrians shall not stand in the roadway to solicit a ride, employment or business from vehicle drivers.
  • Under the pedestrian laws in Florida, pedestrians shall not stand in roadways during the parking of vehicles or to guard vehicles.
  • Drivers at intersections with traffic control signals must yield the right of way to pedestrians crossing the street when the traffic control signal indicates that the pedestrian may cross.
  • Drivers at intersections with stop signs must stop and yield the right of way to pedestrians crossing the street.
  • At places where there is no traffic signals or signage but there is a marked crosswalk, vehicles must yield the right of way to pedestrians crossing at the crosswalk.
  • At places where there is a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing, pedestrians must use the provided crossings or yield the right of way to vehicles when crossing the regular roadway.
  • Pedestrians should not suddenly leave the curb or other places of safety and move in front of vehicles so quickly that the vehicles don’t have time to stop.
  • Whenever a vehicle has stopped at any marked crosswalk or an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to let a pedestrian cross, other vehicles approaching from the rear must not pass the stopped vehicle.
  • Pedestrians must always yield the right of way to vehicles on the road except when the pedestrian is crossing at a marked crosswalk or within a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.
  • A pedestrian can only cross a roadway at a marked intersection in places where there are intersections with traffic lights on both sides.
  • In places where it is permitted to cross a road other than at a marked crosswalk, pedestrians must cross the road at a right angle or whatever path across the road is shortest.
  • When using a crosswalk, pedestrians should walk along the right half of the crosswalk.
  • Pedestrian should never cross an intersection at a diagonal unless specifically commanded to do so by the traffic control signal.
  • Pedestrians should not walk on a limited access facility (highway or freeway) or a ramp to a limited access facility.
  • Pedestrians must not walk around signals or barriers at bridges or railroad crossings that indicate stop.
  • Pedestrians may not jump off public bridges.
  • Violations of these rule by pedestrians are noncriminal traffic infractions punishable as a pedestrian violation. Cited pedestrians may choose to appear before an official or to pay the fine by mail or in person. The penalty is $15.
  • Notwithstanding these Florida pedestrian laws, vehicles have an overarching duty to exercise due care to avoid colliding with pedestrians.

Florida Law on Hitting a Pedestrian

The Florida car accident laws on hitting a pedestrian state that if the driver is at fault, then he or she will be liable for the damages to the pedestrian. Fault is determined by the general negligence standard. Florida is a “comparative negligence” state, meaning that the negligence of both the vehicle driver and the pedestrian will be considered in determining fault. For example, it could be determined that the driver was 60% negligent or at fault and the pedestrian was 40% at fault. The comparative fault conclusion is ultimately one for the jury to decide. While trying to settle a case with the driver’s insurance, we will argue that the driver was at fault, but the insurance company will try to say the pedestrian was at fault. It may be that both were partially at fault. If so, we can recover damages for the percentage fault of the driver who hit you.

Florida right-of-way laws help to determine who was at-fault in the accident. In most cases, pedestrians crossing at crosswalks have the right-of-way. If a car hits them in a crosswalk, the driver will be at fault. In most cases, when crossing without a crosswalk and not at an intersection, the pedestrian is supposed to yield the right-of-way to vehicles. So then the pedestrian would be at fault. However, cars have a heightened duty to avoid pedestrians when they are aware of them. So even if you’ve been hit while jaywalking, we may be able to prove that the car that struck you was partially or completely at-fault.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Pedestrians always have the right of way in Florida?

Is it illegal to walk on the interstate in Florida?

Can you get a ticket for jaywalking in Florida?

What is typical compensation for a pedestrian injury in Florida

What are some important safety tips for pedestrians?

What causes most pedestrian accidents?

When to Contact a Car Accident Attorney

You should contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after you’ve been injured. It’s important to protect your rights from the beginning. A personal injury attorney who handles pedestrian injuries will explain your rights and help you make a claim for insurance coverage and possibly file a lawsuit to recover damages. Contacting a lawyer early on is important so that you don’t make mistakes in your claim. For example, it’s important for the attorney to begin collecting all the evidence of the accident early before it is lost.

There is a long list of possible injuries that can result to a pedestrian who is struck by a car, truck, motorcycle or bicycle. Pedestrians are not protected with helmets or seatbelts and are usually struck by hard and heavy vehicles. Typical pedestrian injuries include head injuries like traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, fractures of various bones, dislocations and sprains, cuts and lacerations and many more.

"Eric Kem was a Fantastic Lawyer...knowledgeable, patient as well as kind. He helped me understand the law, know my rights and not feel like an idiot for asking so many questions. I had a better outcome then I ever expected. I would highly recommend him!!!"

Crystal DeJesus, Gainesville Florida

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