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Equine Crossings: Who Has the Right Of Way?


California Motor Vehicle Code 21950 give pedestrians the right of way when they are crossing in crosswalks. All cars and trucks must yield to a pedestrian crossing the street at approved crosswalks, whether they are marked or unmarked walkways.

According to statistics by the National Highway Traffic Association, about 5,000 pedestrians are killed and another 64,000 injured in motor vehicle accidents every year in the United States. Pedestrian fatalities make up about 11 percent of all motor vehicle involved fatalities.

  • On average, a pedestrian is hit by a car every 8 minutes in the US
  • Pedestrians are struck and killed at a rate of one every hour and a half

Pedestrian deaths are usually higher in urban settings. This is due to the larger amount of pedestrian and vehicle traffic. There are also more rushed and inattentive drivers in urban areas. Pedestrians are killed on rural roads too, largely due to the high speeds of cars traveling on rural roads and the lack of sidewalks.

Although a substantial number of pedestrian injuries occur at intersections, the majority of pedestrian accidents occur at locations other than intersections. This is due to higher vehicle speeds, and pedestrians crossing illegally. Pedestrians are much safer crossing in crosswalks, where vehicles are anticipating stops.

When cars and pedestrians collide, the pedestrian will usually end up with serious injuries. Car and pedestrian accidents are a huge problem in the U.S., and Southern California is no exception.

Young children and the elderly are the most vulnerable for pedestrian accident related injuries. The elderly are struck less frequently than children are, but they are more likely to die from their injuries. The elderly made up 16 percent of all pedestrian fatalities last year.

When a pedestrian is involved in a car accident, he or she is at risk for countless serious injuries. Pedestrians’ heads, legs and arms are the most vulnerable body parts in an accident. Often, pedestrians endure extreme bodily injuries such as:

  • Brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Coma
  • Bone fractures
  • Death

There are numerous factors that contribute to pedestrian accidents, but negligence is the most common. Drivers have a responsibility to watch for pedestrians. Pedestrians have a responsibility to cross the street safely and courteously. If both parties follow the law, and pay attention, the streets can be safe for everyone.

For more rules of the road, please see complete listing of California Motor Vehicle Codes.

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