Pedestrian Violations and Safety
Jaywalking is commonly thought of as one of the pettiest and most irritating of traffic infractions. While many agree that penalties for doing so seem frivolous, many people still fail to realize what constitutes as jaywalking. Most people understand that it is unlawful for pedestrians to cross the street without making use of the crosswalk if one is present, however, fewer Floridians know that, according to Florida State Statute, “where sidewalks are not provided, any pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall, when practicable, walk only on the shoulder on the left side of the roadway in relation to the pedestrian’s direction of travel, facing traffic which may approach from the opposite direction; No person shall stand in the portion of a roadway paved for vehicular traffic for the purpose of soliciting a ride, employment, or business from the occupant of any vehicle; [and] no person shall stand on or in proximity to a street or highway for the purpose of soliciting the watching or guarding of any vehicle while parked or about to be parked on a street or highway.”
Additionally, Florida drivers are protected under the statute stating that, “No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.” this ensures that drivers put into an impossible situation are guarded against fraudulent attempts to take advantage of them. Though, this does not negate a driver’s responsibility to, “exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle and give warning when necessary and exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person.”
While a nuisance, when regarded, these statutes can help protect you or a loved one in the event of a personal injury lawsuit. Meaning, if a motorist strikes and injures a pedestrian that is abiding by pedestrian traffic regulations, the motorist is at fault in the accident and is held accountable accordingly. Traffic and dashboard camera footage showing you taking traffic precautions can help back you up in an accident, so remember to walk like someone’s watching! Plus, observing these statutes can keep you safe from an extra fine or ticket!
Aside from following state traffic laws for pedestrians, the CDC recommends that you protect yourself by, “[increasing] your visibility at night by carrying a flashlight when walking and wearing reflective clothing, such as reflective vests, [crossing] streets at a designated crosswalk or intersection whenever possible, [walking] on a sidewalk or path instead of the road [or walking] on the shoulder, facing traffic if a sidewalk or path is not available, and [avoiding] using electronic devices like earbuds or walking if you have been using alcohol or drugs. They can cause distractions and impair judgment and coordination.” In a jury trial that was tried by Moody Law on behalf of a young man who suffered a severe brain injury, testimony was discussed by experts as to the brightest visibility for the human eye to recognize. Many people thought this color would be red, however, a florescent lime or orange color attracts the human eye first. Therefore, if you are pedestrian walking at night, it would be best to wear a vest with the color florescent lime or orange.
This is an especially relevant issue to us at Moody Law. With our offices being centered in the heart of Central Florida, our community members play an active role in the tourism and nightlife of Tampa and Orlando. According to the Miami Herald, “in Florida, there were 5,433 pedestrian deaths in the 10-year span, which is an annual average of 2.73 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people, or a Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) calculated in the report as 182.0. Compare that to the national figures of 1.55 average annual deaths per 100,000 and a 55.3 PDI.” When you consider the saturation of pedestrian activity in Tampa and Orlando given lively downtown shopping scene, crowded theme parks, and popular waterlines, these statistics appear much more daunting to us locally. So next time you’re enjoying yourself at the international mall, Disney or Universal parks, or the many local restaurants and clubs of the area, remember to protect yourself by minding your pedestrian manners. When possibly always, always, walk in a designated marked crosswalk to cross a road or street.