February 13, 2023
You may have heard “pedestrians always have the right of way in Texas.” It would be more accurate to say pedestrians often have the right of way, as pedestrians must adhere to traffic signals and laws. However, when drivers fail to recognize pedestrians’ right of way, their negligence can cause catastrophic injuries or death to the pedestrian. Pedestrian accident victims may be entitled to compensation for their injuries in a personal injury claim.
Under Texas Transportation Code §552.008, drivers have a duty to avoid collisions with pedestrians. This includes:
Everyone is a pedestrian at some point. Pedestrians include young children, teenagers, adults, and elderly individuals. Pedestrians can be crossing traffic, walking alongside traffic, walking on a sidewalk, or in a parking lot. A pedestrian can be anyone walking, or anyone in a self-powered or motorized wheelchair. Pedestrians can also include skateboarders and people on roller skates or blades, and people running or jogging. Pedestrians often travel in groups, or with pets. Pedestrians may be present at any hour of the day and are harder to see at night. Without protective clothing or helmets that motorcyclists or bicyclists wear, people on foot are vulnerable to very serious injury when struck by a vehicle.
Drivers must stop and give a pedestrian the right of way in a marked or unmarked crosswalk when a pedestrian has a green signal or walk sign. However, when a pedestrian has a red signal, a “wait” sign, or a “do-not-walk” signal, they do not have the right-of-way and must not cross.
What about when a crosswalk does not have traffic control signals? Drivers should yield to pedestrians right-of-way. Vehicles moving on the same side as the pedestrian should give the right-of-way to the pedestrian.
Texas crosswalk law states that the operator of a car or motorcycle must stop and yield to the right-of-way of a pedestrian when the pedestrian is on half of the roadway in which the vehicle is traveling. Unless specifically signed otherwise, crosswalks, whether marked or not, exist at all four-way intersections, and at some non-intersection locations where a crosswalk is painted and signed. Pedestrians may not cross an intersection diagonally unless traffic control signs specifically authorize it.
If there is no crosswalk, the Texas Department of Transportation recommends checking for a crosswalk further up or down the street.
Sidewalks are common in Texas and many city ordinances require that sidewalks are constructed concurrently with any roads, although waivers may be granted in areas where potential pedestrian traffic in the area is so minimal that sidewalks are not warranted. Pedestrians must walk on a sidewalk or pedestrian path anytime one is available - it is illegal to walk on the road when a sidewalk is available. If a sidewalk is blocked or there is not one present, pedestrians may walk on the road. If you must walk on the road, keep to the far left side to face oncoming vehicles and cyclists.
Texas Transportation Code § 552 establishes all of the instances when a pedestrian has the right of way. There are a number of situations where pedestrians are legally permitted to walk on the road and cross it with the legal right of way. In these situations a driver must yield to a pedestrian:
Many of these rules come down to basic common sense. To drive that point home, Texas Transportation Code § 552.008 says drivers must “exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian on a roadway.” In other words, when a driver sees a pedestrian, they are to avoid hitting them whenever possible.
When does a pedestrian not have the right of way? Again, Texas Transportation Code § 552 covers pedestrian right-of-way laws and ordinances relating to pedestrians. For example, § 552.002 states that pedestrians do not have the right-of-way when there is a “don’t walk” or a “wait signal. Pedestrians must exercise common sense - they may not a pedestrian may not suddenly leave a curb and step into the path of a vehicle so close that it is impossible for the vehicle operator to stop and yield.
Local authorities may pass specific laws for pedestrians such as:
It is important to note: Even if a pedestrian did not have the right-of-way, such as in scenarios where jaywalking is illegal in Texas, they may still be able to recover compensation under Texas’ modified comparative negligence laws.
There are a few things pedestrian accident victims should do immediately following a pedestrian accident:
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, more than 5,000 pedestrian accidents occur each year in Texas. In 2021, there were 841 pedestrian deaths in Texas, a 15 percent increase from 2020. More than 1,400 people were seriously injured. Because pedestrians do not have any of the standard protection that motorists have, like seat belts, airbags, and collision avoidance systems, injuries are often catastrophic. Pedestrians struck by vehicles often experience injuries like traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, blunt force trauma injuries, and broken bones.
Unfortunately, some motorists simply do not look for pedestrians. However, pedestrians can take some steps to be more aware, mindful, and visible on the road:
What is the benefit of hiring a Texas pedestrian accident lawyer? An attorney can help you recover compensation for your injuries or the wrongful death of a loved one. When you hire Brooks & Radchenko, our legal team will get to work right away to:
Brooks & Radchenko offers a free consultation to review your potential case and answer your questions.
Pedestrian accidents cause serious injuries, and impact victims and their loved ones physically, emotionally, and financially. You do not have to handle a claim with the insurance company on your own in Texas, nor should you. Do not delay speaking with a lawyer following a Texas pedestrian accident - contact us today. At Brooks & Radchenko, under our contingency fee agreement, we are only paid if we recover money for you.
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