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Pedestrian Rights in Colorado

By admin on August 19, 2016

shutterstock_76939183Until humans start wearing impervious exoskeleton super suits like our comic book heroes, when on foot, we have a comparable disadvantage when it comes to collisions with a metal vehicle that may several thousand pounds. Taking measures to ensure safety while you’re on foot is crucial. At the same time, when you’re behind the wheel of a car you must respect the damage that you can cause. That means keeping alert and watching for pedestrians, even in areas pedestrians typically are not present.

In 2015, collision fatalities were up in Colorado, and this is something we’ve touched on directly. However, one thing we’ve never noted is that nearly 12% of those fatalities were pedestrians. That’s 64 people who were killed while using our roadways on foot[1] – a number that must fall dramatically.

As a pedestrian, safety starts with a firm understanding of the laws in place to protect pedestrians. Let’s quickly recap Colorado’s basic law regarding pedestrians:

  • Drivers must yield right-of-way to pedestrians in a crosswalk, when traffic signals aren’t working, or when there are none.
  • Drivers must stop for pedestrians and yield right-of-way when other vehicles have stopped to let a pedestrian cross.
  • Pedestrians always have right away at intersections with stop signs or flashing red lights.

This is the core of Colorado’s pedestrian law, but you should understand a few other pointers for staying safe. First, never enter a crosswalk directly in front of a moving vehicle even if the traffic signal indicates you may cross. You should only begin to cross if an approaching driver has enough room to stop. Remember, as a pedestrian you don’t stand a chance in a collision with an automobile and as the saying goes you don’t want to be “Dead right.” Being in the right is no solace when you’re gravely injured or worse. Second, you always need to be paying attention – as the saying goes, ‘keep your head on a swivel’ and look both ways. Third, make sure you’re always following laws put in place for your safety. Don’t enter a crosswalk controlled by a traffic signal until you have the “walk” sign, and avoid “jaywalking” across the middle of a street as drivers are less likely to anticipate your presence.

Pedestrians are certainly not the only party responsible or capable of minimizing the risk of injury and motor vehicle related deaths. Drivers are also part of the solution and if drivers applied some of the same principles above that pedestrians should follow, then motor vehicle related injuries and deaths should decrease. Don’t drive distracted and follow traffic signals. Slow down. By slowing down, you and the pedestrian have more time to react and in the event of an impact, the forces are less thereby causing less injury. In 2014, New York City reduced the speed in the city from 30 mph to 25 for this very reason.

Remember, roadways were created long before the invention of the first car. The purpose of a thoroughfare is to transport someone from point A to point B, regardless of the mode of transportation they choose, whether it be by bus, car, truck, tractor trailer, RV, motorcycle, horse and carriage, farm vehicles, bicycle, or your own two feet. We must share the road with many different types of transportation, and we must watch out for pedestrians and allow them to use the roadways as well.

Unfortunately, pedestrian involved crashes do happen. If you’re the victim of careless driving, we’re here to help you. Reach out to the D’Angelo Law Office to talk about your case and see what we can do for you.

[1] https://www.codot.gov/library/traffic/safety-crash-data/fatal-crash-data-city-county/fatalities-by-person-type/view