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Watch for Pedestrians

Accidents between vehicles and pedestrians are some of the most fatal types of accidents, along with head-on collisions, roll-over crashes, and bicycle accidents. These types of accidents can also result in very serious physical injury. While drivers do have the responsibility to watch for pedestrians on the road, pedestrians, in turn, have the responsibility to watch for vehicles. In Florida, the law is to share the roadways. But, how do we perform this safely and effectively? Here are a few tips to watch for pedestrians and drivers alike, and to share the roadways safely.

  • Any person on foot is considered a pedestrian. This includes a person in a wheelchair or on roller skates.

  • Aside from maintenance or governmental personnel, a person may not walk upon a limited access facility (highway or freeway) or a ramp connecting a limited access facility to any other street or highway.

  • According to Florida law, where sidewalks are provided, a pedestrian must not walk on the road, but should walk on the sidewalk.

  • If there is no sidewalk, a pedestrian can walk on the road. Always be cautious in this situation, and remember that sharing roadways with cars always can put you in danger. When a sidewalk is not provided, a pedestrian should walk only on the shoulder on the left side of the roadway, facing the oncoming traffic. A driver and a pedestrian who face each other are more aware of each other’s presence, and this reduces the likelihood of any kind of accident.

  • Cyclists are not considered pedestrians, so roadway cyclists are required to travel on the right.

  • Pedestrians have the right of way on a marked crosswalk. A pedestrian crossing a road at any point other than within a marked crosswalk must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles. When crossing, a pedestrian should look left, right and left again to ensure that he or she has a safe way to cross.

  • Pedestrians must obey all traffic signals and cross a road only when a pedestrian light is green. Even when a green light is on, a pedestrian must still make sure that the cars are stopping.

  • Even when a pedestrian has right-of-way, not all cars will stop. A driver may be distracted and not notice a pedestrian or a traffic light, so a pedestrian should make eye contact with the drivers before crossing a road to ensure they see him/her. After checking that the light is green and that it is safe to cross, pedestrians should move upon the right half of crosswalks.

  • Florida law prohibits a person to stand on the road paved for vehicular traffic to solicit a ride, employment, or business from the occupant of any vehicle. In addition, a person cannot stand on or near a street or a highway to solicit the watching or guarding of any parked vehicle or a vehicle about to be parked on a street or highway.

  • A violation of the above mentioned laws is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a pedestrian violation. According to Florida law, a person may either elect to appear before a designated official or pay the civil penalty and delinquent fee, if applicable, either by mail or in person, within 30 days after the date of issuance of the citation. The penalty for a pedestrian violation is $15.

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