Most of us have heard that “pedestrians always have the right-of-way,” but “always” is not completely true. Even in a busy city like Birmingham, pedestrians do not have the right-of-way in every situation. Pedestrians, like all other roadway users, must follow Alabama’s traffic laws. This includes yielding the right-of-way when required.
In pedestrian accident claims, the driver is usually held liable for damages. However, if the pedestrian violated a right-of-way law, he or she could potentially be held partially or even fully liable for the accident.
Have you been injured in a pedestrian accident? Whether you were the driver, a passenger, or a pedestrian, our personal injury lawyers can review your case, inform you of your legal rights, and help you determine whether you may have a valid claim to compensation.
Norris Injury Lawyers offers all potential clients a free case review. Schedule yours today by calling us at (800) 477-7510, starting a live chat, or filling out the online contact form.
When Pedestrians Have the Right-of-Way in Birmingham, AL
It is important for both pedestrians and motorists to understand when they must yield so that they can share the road safely. Both have certain rights when using the road, and each is required to yield in some situations.
Pedestrians have the right-of-way when:
- They enter a crosswalk with a traffic control signal: Traffic control signals, when followed, guide pedestrians, and drivers safely through intersections, so a pedestrian has the right-of-way when entering a crosswalk under the direction of the traffic signal
- Drivers have a stop or yield sign: Motorists are always required to yield to pedestrians when they have a stop or yield sign
- A crosswalk does not have a traffic signal: Pedestrians have the right-of-way in a marked crosswalk without a traffic signal
- They are on a sidewalk or walkway: At times, a motorist may need to cross a sidewalk to enter a driveway or parking lot
When Pedestrians in Birmingham, AL Do Not Have the Right-of-Way
While motorists should always be alert to pedestrians and take action to avoid an accident, there are some situations in which pedestrians do not have the right-of-way.
Instances where pedestrians do not have the right-of-way include:
- When there is no crosswalk: A pedestrian must yield to motorists when crossing the road without a clearly marked crosswalk
- When the traffic signal indicates motorists have the right-of-way: Just as motorists are to yield to pedestrians when the traffic signal indicates “walk,” pedestrians must yield to motorists when the traffic signal indicates it’s their turn to pass
Alabama Pedestrian Laws
In addition to the right-of-way laws mentioned above, there are other state laws that apply specifically to pedestrians. For example, there are rules about how a person should cross the street. It is prohibited to cross a road in the middle of a block or cross an intersection diagonally, which may be considered jaywalking.
Pedestrians should always look for vehicles before crossing the road. In Alabama, a pedestrian is prohibited from stepping off of a curb and onto the roadway in the path of oncoming traffic that is close enough to present a hazard.
When there is a sidewalk available in Alabama, a pedestrian is required to use it. If walking on a roadway without a sidewalk, pedestrians should walk facing traffic and maintain as much distance between them and traffic as possible.
Right-of-Way Laws for Blind Pedestrians in Birmingham, AL
There is a law in Alabama written specifically to protect blind pedestrians. Partially or totally blind pedestrians who have a white or metallic cane, with or without a red tip, or are using a guide dog, have the right-of-way.
In addition, drivers must yield to a person employed by an accredited school for training guide dogs who provides notice through a sign or other method that they are training a dog.
The law goes on to state that any driver who fails to take all necessary precautions shall be liable for damages for any injury caused to the blind pedestrian or the guide dog trainer.
Birmingham Pedestrian Safety Tips
One report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated that over 76,000 pedestrians were injured and 6,205 were killed within one year alone. That means one pedestrian was killed every 85 minutes in the US during that time period.
Most, if not all of these tragic accidents could have been prevented. There are actions both pedestrians and motorists can take to keep pedestrian accidents from occurring.
Here are some safety tips for pedestrians:
- Remain visible. Try to wear clothing with bright colors or reflective material that will make you stand out. If you are going to be walking at night, consider walking with a flashlight to make yourself more visible.
- Obey pedestrian traffic laws. Pedestrians should be aware of and obey the Alabama traffic laws that apply to them.
- Use sidewalks. Typically, the sidewalk is the safest place for a pedestrian to walk.
- Avoid distractions. It is important for pedestrians to stay alert to what is going on around them. Avoid looking down at your phone while walking or wearing headphones.
- Make eye contact. Even if you have the right-of-way, try to make eye contact with a stopped driver before crossing to ensure that he or she sees you.
- Refrain from alcohol. Intoxicated pedestrians may have impaired judgment and coordination, increasing their risk of being involved in an accident.
- Watch for parked vehicles. Drivers who are backing out of a parking space may have a limited view. Be alert when walking through a parking lot, and try to stay out of a reversing driver’s blind spot.
How to avoid pedestrian accidents when you are driving:
- Avoid distractions. Spotting pedestrians requires a motorist’s full attention. Drivers may not see a pedestrian when looking down at their phones, reading the GPS, or talking to passengers.
- Slow down around children. Kids do not always follow traffic rules. They are impulsive and may dart out into traffic. Take extra caution around playgrounds and school zones.
- Do not exceed the speed limit. Following the posted speed limit increases a driver’s ability to be able to spot a pedestrian. It is especially important to follow the speed limit in school zones and areas with high pedestrian traffic.
- Be careful as you approach crosswalks. Never pass a vehicle that has stopped for pedestrians. If a pedestrian is crossing or about to cross, stop far enough behind the crosswalk that the drivers behind you have time to yield.
- Do not pass stopped school buses. It is illegal in Alabama to pass a stopped school bus. It is not easy to see children around a large school bus, and they may be crossing the road right as you are trying to pass.
- Look before you turn. Pedestrians are not always right in front of you; they may be stepping out into the crosswalk as you are planning to turn. Always check for a pedestrian crossing or looking to cross before you turn. Make eye contact with the person, and let him or her have the right-of-way.
Damages Available to Victims of Birmingham, AL Pedestrian Accidents
If you were a victim of a pedestrian accident in Birmingham, AL, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. A personal injury lawyer from our law firm can gather evidence, calculate the value of your damages, help you file a claim, and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.
Depending on who is found liable, the extent of your injuries, and other factors, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
If you have suffered the tragic loss of a loved one in a pedestrian accident, you may be eligible to recover wrongful death damages. This could include compensation for funeral costs, burial expenses, loss of inheritance, loss of financial support, and more.
Contact a Birmingham Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Today
Both pedestrians and motorists in Alabama have legal rights. If you were injured in a right-of-way pedestrian accident, do not hesitate to contact our law firm today. We know Alabama state law well and are happy to answer any legal questions you may have.
At Norris Injury Lawyers, we offer all clients our No Fee Guarantee®. Our attorneys firmly believe that each person deserves the right to legal representation, regardless of his or her current financial situation. In order to remain affordable to everyone, we represent clients on contingency. So you don’t owe us anything until you are awarded a settlement.
After being injured in a pedestrian accident, you have enough to worry about without the added stress of filing a claim or lawsuit. Let our experienced and skilled legal team do the work for you. We can diligently pursue monetary damages on your behalf and do everything possible to ensure you recover maximum compensation for your losses.
Schedule your free case evaluation at a time and location convenient to you. Call us 24/7 at (800) 477-7510.