Does The California Vehicle Code Prohibit "Jaywalking"?


Does The California Vehicle Code Prohibit "Jaywalking"?

Postby StevenMSweat » Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:41 am

Surprisingly, this is not as simple a question to answer as one might think. There is actually no California Vehicle Code section which specifically prohibits a pedestrian crossing a roadway without a crosswalk or between intersections. In fact, California Vehicle Code section 21961 acknowledges that such a prohibition requires a "local ordinance" (like a City Code or Municipal Code). In addition, California Vehicle Code section 21954 requires pedestrians who cross streets outside of a crosswalk to yield to vehicles that would present a danger. This section clearly allows for pedestrians to cross between intersections and not at crosswalks but, requires them to use caution, as they should.

However, California Vehicle Code section 21955 does prohibit pedestrians from crossing, "Between adjacent intersections controlled by traffic control signal devices or by police officers" at any place other than a crosswalk. This section only applies between two intersections that are controlled by the typical red-yellow-green traffic lights. In addition, the controlled intersections must be "adjacent" to each other and not separated by other intersections not controlled by traffic lights.

The bottom line is that just because a police report claims that a pedestrian is "at fault" in an auto vs. pedestrian accident because they were "jaywalking", doesn't mean that the pedestrian shouldn't seek the advice of a competent personal injury and accident attorney familiar with the various code sections that apply to pedestrians. An attorney can analyze the claim from all perspectives and employ the use of an accident reconstruction expert, if necessary to determine if the pedestrian still has a claim. California is a "comparative negligence" state, which means that, even if there is some percentage of fault on the pedestrian, there may still be a claim for negligence on the part of the driver of the car, truck or motorcycle that struck the pedestrian. This may entitle the pedestrian to compensation for medical bills and pain and suffering.

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