Close up of a person's legs walking over a pedestrian crossing.

California Pedestrian Laws You Need to Know and Observe

California law protects pedestrians by granting them certain rights on California streets. Pedestrians include anyone who isn't in a motor vehicle, bicycle, motorcycle, electric scooter, or hoverboard. They have walkers, skateboarders, rollerbladers, folks in wheelchairs, skiers, non-electric scooter riders, and ice skaters. 

Pedestrian rights are not absolute, however, and are held to the same standards as motorists in following all traffic and safety regulations. Due to these restrictions, pedestrian regulations play a vital role when determining who is at fault when an accident occurs.

The following guidelines apply to pedestrians under California law:

1. Right to Pedestrian Walks and Crossings

Pedestrians must be given safe and convenient travel and access, whether using a foot, wheelchair, walker, or stroller.

On and across all streets and highways, walkers must have easy and safe access, walking and pedestrian travel must rise, and pedestrian fatalities and injuries must be reduced.

2. Pedestrians Must Exercise Due Care

California law compels pedestrians to exercise caution even when using authorized or unmarked crosswalks. Pedestrians are not permitted to act in a way that is likely to result in an accident or other hazard. 

For instance, pedestrians must not suddenly leave a curb or pedestrian walk onto an oncoming vehicle so close that it can cause an immediate hazard both to the pedestrian and the car.

In addition, pedestrians are not permitted to stop or delay traffic needlessly while in a marked or unmarked crossing.

Additional regulations regulate the activity of pedestrians. Pedestrians must not:

  • Use bike lanes in place of a sidewalk or crosswalk.
  • When there's no corner-to-corner crossing, go beyond the crosswalk to the opposite corner.
  • Cross against a red light.
  • Crossing at an intersection when nearby vehicles pose an immediate hazard is prohibited.

The rule of thumb, however, is that drivers should be careful around pedestrians. Even if someone isn't following the rules, neither drivers nor pedestrians are exempt from actions that put others in danger.

3. Pedestrians Generally Have the Right of Way

As mentioned, drivers of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway inside a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. 

When a vehicle approaches a pedestrian in a marked or unmarked crosswalk, the driver must use all reasonable care, slow down, or take any other action related to the vehicle operation needed to keep the pedestrian safe.

However, this does not exempt pedestrians from exercising due care for their safety. When pedestrians fail to comply with pedestrian and crosswalk rules, drivers have the right of way. Regardless, the driver is still expected to pay attention to the safety of any pedestrian, whether they cross from a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.

However, in rare situations, pedestrians may be held accountable for a pedestrian accident. They can also be judged partially liable and forfeit compensation under comparative negligence laws. 

4. Special Regulations for the Blind

At all crossroads, blind pedestrians with a cane or guide dog always have the right of way. If you don't yield to a blind pedestrian, you may be charged with a criminal offense, punishable as a misdemeanor, face up to six months in jail, and a $1,000 fine.

Determining Fault in Pedestrian Accidents

Many factors must be considered to prove negligence in a pedestrian accident. People often feel that because they are pedestrians, they are immediately entitled to compensation without proving liability. Is the driver 100 percent at blame or partially at fault? 

A Pedestrian Accident Lawyer must assess several factors to determine fault. They must interview accident reconstruction experts, witnesses, police, physicians, and more.

In some pedestrian accidents, both parties can be held accountable. For instance, both can be held responsible if a texting driver hits a jaywalker. However, even if the pedestrian is partially culpable for the accident, they can still receive some compensation under pure comparative negligence.

Establishing Who Is at Fault in a Pedestrian Accident

To properly determine fault in a pedestrian accident, you will need to contact a pedestrian accident lawyer who will assist you in determining who is genuinely at fault. A pedestrian accident lawyer can fight for justice and compensation on behalf of victims and their families so they do not have to pay for the losses caused by the pedestrian accident out of pocket. 

Pedestrian accident victims are eligible for compensation for the following losses:

Nobody should cope with the aftermath of a pedestrian collision on their own. It is essential for accident victims and their families to know they have a skilled lawyer to help them get justice and the compensation they deserve for their losses. 

How to Establish Negligence

If you've been injured in a car vs. pedestrian accident, you should consult a reputable traffic accident attorney to ensure you obtain the compensation and justice you deserve. 

This covers people in both marked and unmarked crosswalks. The motorist may be held accountable if he violated the legal duty of care. Furthermore, your pedestrian accident lawyer must demonstrate that the breach of duty caused your injuries and losses.

Here are other things to consider when determining culpability in a car vs. pedestrian accident:

  • When a pedestrian collision happens, the driver is held accountable because drivers drive carelessly, under the influence, distracted, or completely thoughtless.
  • A widespread misperception is that pedestrians are always innocent; nonetheless, pedestrians must respect traffic laws, use crosswalks, and avoid strolling in restricted areas, such as highways.
  • Other reasons contributing to the pedestrian accident include poor weather, poor road conditions, malfunctioning equipment, poorly maintained roadways, and so on.


No pedestrian accident victim should ever be alone. Victims and their families should know that an expert accident attorney can help them get justice and compensation for their losses. It's challenging to cope with an accident's aftermath or identify culpability.

To defend your case, you must make sure to hire a pedestrian accident lawyer in California to help you. Hiring a qualified pedestrian accident lawyer can make a big difference in your case. Contact our lawyers today!

Have you suffered serious injuries in a pedestrian accident? Get the compensation you deserve with Mendez & Sanchez Law. We are one of the best Los Angeles pedestrian injury accident law firms, and we can help you navigate the challenging legal process, so you get the best compensation you deserve. 

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