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What is a motorist's duty to pedestrians in a crosswalk?

While the rest of the country is stuck in the grasp of winter's bitter cold, people in Indio are fortunate that the mild weather in their area allows them to enjoy going outdoors on a regular basis. For some people, this may be as simple as a daily walk. Whether they are doing it for exercise or as a cheaper and environmentally-friendly alternative to driving, pedestrians in California can benefit greatly from walking.

However, taking a walk is not always a safe endeavor. Pedestrians who are struck by a car are often severely injured, or may even die. After all, pedestrians to not have crumple zones, seat belts or airbags to protect them in the event of a crash. It is simply them versus an automobile weighing thousands of pounds.

For this reason, California Code addresses what a motorist's duties to pedestrians are. When pedestrians are in a marked crosswalk, motorists must give them the right-of-way. Motorists must also give pedestrians the right-of-way if the pedestrian is in an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, with some exceptions. This includes using due care and lowering one's speed or doing anything else necessary to ensure the pedestrian will be safe.

Of course, pedestrians must also take care to keep themselves safe. Pedestrians cannot suddenly dart into traffic. Also, pedestrians cannot unnecessarily stall traffic even if they are in a crosswalk, be it marked or unmarked. However, none of this relieves a motorist of their duty to drive with due care.

Pedestrians who are following the rules of the road and crossing the street in a crosswalk deserve to be safe while doing so. Unfortunately, there will always be negligent drivers who disregard their duty of care and cause a pedestrian accident. Pedestrians who have been struck by a car should make sure they understand their rights, so they can make informed decisions moving forward.

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