Pedestrian accidents are far too common in our state. A report by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reveals that about 13,500 pedestrians are involved in crashes in California every year. Pedestrian fatalities account for a shocking 22 percent of all traffic accidents, as per the figures of California’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Considering the high number of crashes in the state, this is a significant percentage.

Seemingly, these pedestrian accidents are rising and don’t seem to reduce. But one reason this is the case is that California’s pedestrian laws and vehicles’ responsibilities around pedestrians are often confusing. Both motorists and pedestrians must understand their rights and duties. In this article, the experienced Pasadena personal injury attorneys discuss pedestrian rights and responsibilities in California.

Who Is a Pedestrian?

California Vehicle Code 467 defines who a pedestrian is. This definition is crucial because it determines who is to abide by the pedestrian laws. According to the code, a pedestrian is a person who’s walking, is riding something propelled by their own effort (except a bicycle), and is riding a motorized assistive mobility device, e.g., a wheelchair.

People using skis, ice skates, skateboards, scooters, crutches, wheelchairs, motorized wheelchairs, roller skates, and roller blades are all regarded as pedestrians. People on e-bikes, bikes, hoverboards, and e-scooters are not considered pedestrians.

What Are the Pedestrian Rights and Responsibilities in California?

To start you off, marked crosswalks are not the only places a pedestrian is supposed to cross the street. There’s an unmarked crosswalk between sidewalks at all intersections. So if a pedestrian is hit while crossing from one street corner to the other in an unmarked crosswalk, they are not liable for the incident.

However, there are instances where liability is shared between a motorist and the pedestrian, while in other accidents like bicycle accidents, a pedestrian may be fully liable. All these are reasons you should seek advice from a professional team of Pasadena pedestrian accident lawyers.

Right of Way at Intersections

In California, drivers must yield to allow pedestrians to cross the street. For everyone’s safety, motorists should yield to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.

Motorists Have a Duty of Care for Pedestrians

Other than the right of way pedestrians enjoy at crosswalks and any other unmarked crosswalks at intersections, drivers are generally expected to safeguard the safety of pedestrians. Drivers are expected to drive carefully in areas with high foot traffic.

Legal Obligations of the Pedestrian

Pedestrians also have their role to play. The law states that a pedestrian is not relieved of “the duty of using due care for his or her safety.” For instance, a pedestrian cannot suddenly jump from a safe location or curb in front of a vehicle that’s close enough.

Common Sense on the Road

It would be unwise to assume that a driver will see you and yield automatically. You are expected to take safety precautions to safeguard your own well-being. But if, unfortunately, you or a loved one got injured in a pedestrian accident in California, get in touch with the Pasadena pedestrian accident lawyers as soon as possible.


Most pedestrian collisions happen because of a driver’s or pedestrian’s negligence for not knowing the right of way. Both the driver and the pedestrian are expected to know the applicable traffic laws. Any indications that you’re not familiar with right-of-way policies would be considered negligence.

Other pedestrian laws in California

  • Drivers who approach a stopped vehicle at a crosswalk cannot pass or overtake it
  • Jaywalking is illegal and unsafe for you
  • Drivers are disallowed from stopping their vehicles in the marked crosswalks
  • Drivers are expected to slow down when approaching a marked or unmarked crosswalk
  • The only time drivers are allowed to drive on a sidewalk is when joining the roadway from an alley, parking lot, or parking garage

How Can I Recover Damages After a Pasadena Pedestrian Accident?

California uses the comparative fault model. Even if you failed to yield to a vehicle or made a mistake as a pedestrian, which ultimately led to the pedestrian accident, you can still recover compensation.

Rather than denying accident damages, the law states that the award to the victim will be reduced by their degree of fault. However, this only applies if the pedestrian was partially at fault and another party is at fault. If it is proven that the pedestrian is fully responsible for the accident, then compensation to the pedestrian will be barred.

Proving Fault

The role of your personal injury attorney in Pasadena, CA, is to investigate the role of the driver and the injured pedestrian. Once it is established that the driver disobeyed a traffic law and disregarded their duty of care which led to your injuries, the driver could be found at fault.

Sometimes the driver’s defense team may argue that you were jaywalking or crossed against the ‘do not walk’ sign. You’ll need a skilled and experienced California pedestrian accident attorney to counter such claims and pursue compensation for your injuries.

Once involved in a pedestrian accident, it is critical to call the police, who will arrive at the scene, investigate and file a report. You should also seek immediate medical attention.

Compassionate Attorneys Helping Pedestrian Accident Victims Recover

Pedestrian collisions are often severe, which may leave the victim with musculoskeletal injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). You deserve compensation for your injuries to help you recover if a driver dismissed their duty of care.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident with a car, get in touch with a Pasadena personal injury lawyer today. At Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell, we are an experienced team of PI attorneys with a track record of helping victims recover the maximum compensation. Book a FREE consultation with us today by calling (626) 795-8333.