When Do Pedestrians Have the Right-of-Way Over a Vehicle?

Does a Pedestrian Always Have the Right-of-Way?

There is a common understanding that pedestrians always have the right-of-way over vehicles on the roads. When a someone gets hit by a car, pedestrian injuries tend to be very serious and even fatal. Because of this, most people believe that they should automatically be compensated for their injuries. This is probably why pedestrians have more favor under the law. But that is simply not the case.

Rules of the road pertaining to pedestrians are provided under Texas Transportation Code, Chapter 552.

When Does a Pedestrian have the Right-of-Way?

Almost never. Unless a pedestrian is in a cross walk and has the light in their favor, a pedestrian does not have the right to be in the middle of the road over a motor vehicle. A pedestrian is not allowed claim the right or way on the roadway by simply stepping off a curb and crossing the street.


A pedestrian has the right to enter a cross-walk when there is a crossing light in their favor and the cross traffic has a red light. Additionally, a pedestrian has the right to cross at an intersection where the cross traffic has a stop sign.

In areas such as downtown districts, many signs will dictate that traffic must yield and stop when pedestrians are present and entering a designated crossing area. Examples of area like this in the Dallas area would include the places like Deep Elum and the West End.

Parking Lots.

Typically, a pedestrian has the right of way in parking lots and other retail parking areas. This is because the driver of a motor vehicle must anticipate that parking lots will have many pedestrians present. Also, pedestrian will likely have the right of way when crossing a driving lane in a parking lot especially where the signs dictate that traffic must stop when pedestrians are present.

Parks and Recreational Areas.

Again, operators of automobiles must anticipate that pedestrian traffic will be quite high in recreational areas. Likewise, drivers will be expected to keep a careful lookout for pedestrians and give them the right of way in these areas.

For instance, if you are walking through the parking lot of AT&T Stadium during a Dallas Cowboys football game, you would likely have the right-of-way over vehicular traffic.

Police Directing Traffic or School Crossing Guard.

Utmost care must be taken while driving through a school zone. If you are directed to stop by a school crossing guard in order for students to cross the road, you must yield the right of way to those pedestrians.

This would also be true in circumstances where police are directing traffic as well as pedestrians.

Every Pedestrian Injury Case is Unique.

Just because a pedestrian decides to cross a street without a cross walk or intersection does not mean the pedestrian takes priority over vehicles travelling down the road. In fact, the pedestrian will likely be found at fault in these circumstances. This would be true even if the pedestrian seriously injured or killed in an accident.

But there may be situations where, even if the pedestrian initially appears to be at-fault for the accident, the vehicle driver may have to answer for the accident. These would includes accidents where the vehicle is speeding or even racing with another vehicle. Or maybe the driver is intoxicated. If these factors are present, then the pedestrian might be able to put most, if not all the fault for the accident on the driver.

So, just because a pedestrian is struck by an automobile does not mean the pedestrian is always innocent. Every situation is determined by its own circumstances.

Call an experienced car accident attorney and discuss the case. Go over all the facts in order to determine the best way to pursue justice in your particular case. This is why it is always important to talk about your case with an attorney before making any conclusions.

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