When a pedestrian is involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, the consequences can be serious for the individual. The amount of such claims, naturally, makes the insurance companies loathe to pay up. With that in mind, it’s smart to understand when you have the right-of-way as a pedestrian — and when you don’t.

What’s a pedestrian’s duty toward their own safety?

Pedestrians are expected to obey certain traffic laws, just like drivers. Colorado law says that pedestrians:

  • Must not jaywalk by crossing streets in unmarked areas whenever the adjacent intersections have traffic signals
  • Must yield to any vehicles in the road whenever they cross a street outside of a marked walkway
  • Must yield to vehicles when crossing roads with a pedestrian tunnel or walkway overhead
  • Must not leave the curb or another safe place and step into the path of an oncoming vehicle in a way that poses an immediate hazard
  • Must obey crossing signals, including “walk” and “don’t walk” signals

Generally, you are always expected to exercise a reasonable amount of caution as you’re walking, and that can vary a bit with the given situation.

What’s a driver’s duty toward pedestrian safety?

Drivers are expected to be particularly cautious around areas where pedestrians are expected to cross the road. With that in mind, drivers:

  • Must yield whenever a pedestrian is within that same half of the crosswalk or road as their vehicle
  • Must yield to pedestrians crossing by stop signs or flashing lights, even if those traffic signals aren’t working or are missing
  • Must not pass or try to go around a vehicle that has stopped to let a pedestrian cross the road — whether the crosswalk is marked or not

Knowing the rules (and obeying them) makes it much harder for the insurance company to try to deny a fair claim. If you need help pursuing compensation for your losses, speak to an attorney.