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Pedestrian Laws in Texas

No one wants to walk on a highway. In fact, in most cases, it is illegal to do so. But sometimes a person doesn’t have a choice. Being a pedestrian can be dangerous—especially on the busy freeways around Dallas and Fort Worth.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in vehicle accidents in 2013. While fatalities decreased by two percent since 2012, pedestrian accidents are still a big concern. Consider the following statistics from 2013:

  • There were 4,375 pedestrians killed in traffic accidents.
  • Pedestrians accounted for 14 percent of all crash deaths.
  • Twenty-one percent of all children from birth to 14 years old killed in accidents were pedestrians.
  • Ninety-two percent of pedestrian fatalities involved accidents with one vehicle.
  • Texas had 480 pedestrian fatalities and had the fourth highest rate of deaths nationwide.

 

Pedestrian Laws in Texas You Need to Know

The 2017 Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Mobility Report showed an increase in crashes involving bicyclists and pedestrians. In 2016, 1,944 accidents in the region involved pedestrians – an increase of 46% from 2015. If you frequently walk in the city of Houston, it is up to you to protect your rights and help prevent collisions. The more you know about Houston’s pedestrian laws, the safer you can be while walking around the Bayou City.

If you were recently involved in a pedestrian accident, you need strong representation. Contact our Houston pedestrian accident lawyers today.

Pedestrian and Traffic Control Signals

Pedestrians do not automatically have the right-of-way in every situation in Houston. Instead, they must obey traffic control and crosswalk signals like drivers and bicyclists. Pedestrians may only cross a roadway when they receive a green signal or a walk sign. Drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who have the walk or green signal within a marked or unmarked crosswalk. Pedestrians with yellow, red, wait, or do-not-walk signals may not cross the roadway.

Drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in crosswalks if the crosswalks do not have traffic control signals. As a pedestrian crosses the walk, vehicles on the same side of the road as the pedestrian must yield. Vehicles on the other side of the road must come to a stop if the pedestrian is approaching that side at a speed that is unsafe. Again, these rules only apply at crosswalks without traffic lights or signals in Houston.

Walking on the Road vs. the Sidewalk

It is illegal in Houston to walk in the roadway if a sidewalk is available and accessible. Instead, pedestrians must use the available sidewalk or pedestrian path. Walking on the road is only lawful when something is blocking the sidewalk, such as a construction zone, or if there is no sidewalk. If you must walk on the road, keep to the left side of the roadway, facing oncoming traffic. Stay on the shoulder of the road, as far to the left as possible.

Pedestrians cannot suddenly step off a sidewalk or curb and into the road when an oncoming vehicle does not have time to stop. Vehicles in close proximity to the pedestrian must have enough time to safely come to a stop before the pedestrian steps into the road, even at a marked crosswalk. Pedestrians must wait until it is safe to do so to cross. It is illegal for a vehicle to pass another vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk.

Crossing Without a Crosswalk

It is illegal for a pedestrian to cross a road at a place other than an intersection or crosswalk, unless no intersection, crosswalk, or pedestrian walkway is available. If a pedestrian has to cross the road without a crosswalk, he or she must yield the right-of-way to oncoming vehicles. It is illegal to cross in front of traffic at a place where no crosswalk or intersection exists. Pedestrians may only cross intersections diagonally if a traffic control device authorizes this action.

Your Rights After a Pedestrian Accident

If a driver strikes you while walking around Houston, you have the right to seek damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Call the police if your accident involves personal injuries, deaths, or expensive property damage. Remain on the scene and wait for help to arrive. Get the driver’s name and insurance information. Once you have received medical care for your injuries, call the at-fault driver’s insurance company and make a claim.

You could receive compensation for your medical expenses, past and future pain and suffering, lost income from missed time at work, and other damages with a successful insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. You have the right to speak to an attorney about your legal options after sustaining serious injuries in a vehicle-pedestrian collision. Hiring a lawyer can help you understand all your rights as a pedestrian in Houston, before and after a collision. Contact us today.

Common Ways Pedestrians Are Hit on Highways

According to Texas law, a pedestrian must walk on the left side of the highway or the shoulder of the roadway facing traffic, if at all possible. Drivers need to be aware that pedestrians could be on the highway and must watch out for them at all times—especially since pedestrians are at much great risk for severe injuries than vehicle passengers. A pedestrian could be following the law, but still face a risk of being hit or killed by a driver. Here are some of the ways pedestrians are struck on highways:

Crossing or entering the highway.

Crossing the highway is extremely dangerous and is a common way pedestrians are hit. Often, these pedestrians are exhibiting irrational or suicidal behavior, but sometimes they are simply going to a gas station or seeking assistance with a disabled vehicle.

Walking on the highway after dark.

As highways are not lit like local streets, even pedestrians on the shoulder are difficult to see and at risk for being hit.

Walking or standing on the shoulder of the highway.

When drivers see a pedestrian on the shoulder, they can become distracted and actually drive towards the person, rather than keeping a safe distance.

Working on a vehicle or helping at the scene of a crash.

People who are changing a tire, waiting for assistance, or helping a stranded vehicle are extremely vulnerable to highway traffic.

A pedestrian’s injuries could be much more serious on a highway than in other crashes, because the person has no protection from the fast moving vehicle that hits them. He could suffer many life-threatening injuries—traumatic brain damage, spinal cord injury, organ damage, and internal bleeding—or even death.

Have You Been Injured In A Texas Pedestrian Accident?

If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident you should speak with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Colleyville office directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free consultation.

 

 

Why are pedestrians walking on highways and how does that cause crashes?

Pedestrian Inspecting Car on the Side of the HighwayWhile it is illegal for pedestrians to walk along highways, a surprisingly large number of pedestrian accidents occur on them. Highways are especially perilous for pedestrians given their lack of any protection from a vehicle hitting them and the fast speed that vehicles travel on highways. Victims can suffer devastating injuries that can cause life-long pain and limitations in their activities or their deaths. However, they may be entitled to compensation if driver negligence was the cause of their accident.

Why Must Pedestrians Walk on Highways?

Even when they are trying to obey the law, pedestrians must sometimes walk on or cross highways. Some of the situations that could force a pedestrian to use a highway include:

  • Crossing and entering. As frightening as this is, pedestrians sometimes must cross a highway if they are assisting a family or friend whose vehicle broke down, but stopped on the wrong side of the road, need to pick up something that fell off their vehicle, or for other legitimate reasons. In addition, many pedestrians must cross highway entrances and exits when they are walking on busy intersections that also have entrances and exits to the highway.
  • Walking on the roadway after dark. When a pedestrian is forced to walk along the highway after dark, for example if his vehicle breaks down, the chances of him being hit by an inattentive driver increases dramatically.
  • Walking or standing on the shoulder. When a motorist’s vehicle breaks down, he could be standing or walking on the shoulder of the highway while inspecting the vehicle or walking to the next exit to get help or gas.
  • Working on vehicles. Pedestrians can be in the roadway or near it when they are taking care of mechanical problem with their vehicle or are pushing it out of the road.
  • Helping accident victims. Pedestrians who are helping other accident victims may need to walk along or across the highway when they are inspecting property damage, administering help, or waiting for the police and other emergency assistance to arrive.

How Do Drivers Cause Pedestrian Accidents on Highways?

Walking on a highway or across it is inherently dangerous, and pedestrians must exercise reasonable care to prevent an accident. However, many of these tragedies are caused by drivers. Some of the motorist errors that contribute to these accidents include:

  • Inattention. Drivers must be attentive to their driving at all times and aware of other vehicles, debris on the vehicle, and nearby pedestrians in order to drive defensively. Pedestrians are less visible, especially at night, and an inattentive driver could miss them before it is too late.
  • Intoxicated driving. If a driver is drunk or high on drugs, his vision, reaction times, and driving abilities are impaired, increasing the risk that he would hit a pedestrian forced to walk on the highway.
  • Distracted driving. Distracted driving is always unsafe and results in many accidents. However, it is even more dangerous on a highway where vehicles are traveling at such fast speeds. Talking on a cell phone, texting, and eating and drinking are a few of the dangerous ways drivers engage in distracted driving on the highway.
  • Poor lighting. Highways are almost always darker due to no street lights. When a driver is inattentive or engaging in other negligent behaviors, he is much more likely to hit an unsuspecting pedestrian.
  • Defective roads. In some cases, highway design, construction, or repair problems could have caused or contributed to the accident. In these situations, a pedestrian may have a claim against a state or municipality and other parties as well as the negligent driver.

Were you hurt in a pedestrian accident? Was a family member killed? David Brauns is here to help you identify all liable parties, thoroughly investigate your accident, and negotiate with the insurance companies for all negligent parties. Call our firm toll free at 877-401-6689 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with David.

 

 

Helping victims throughout Fort Worth, Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst and points between

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