On a Road Which Has No Sidewalks a Pedestrian Should Walk on the Left Side Facing Traffic

A traffic officer looking at a sign that reads "Walk on the left" to guide pedestrians.

Pedestrians are expected to stay off the road and on the shoulder when a road has no sidewalks. Staying on the shoulder can help you avoid a serious accident.

When you are navigating the streets of California, you may choose to do so on foot. Walking is great exercise, and short distances can save you gasoline and the headache of navigating traffic. However, you are more vulnerable to accidents as a pedestrian, meaning you may need extra care to protect your safety.

So where do you walk when a road has no sidewalks as a pedestrian? In these situations, make sure you know where you need to be to avoid a dangerous situation. If you have already been in an accident, our attorneys at the Text Kevin Accident Attorneys are here to help you navigate staying safe on the road, determining who caused your accident, and getting compensated for your suffering.

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Pedestrians Should Stay to the Left-Hand Side of Traffic

If you are a pedestrian in a situation where there are no sidewalks, you should generally stay on the left-hand side of traffic so that you are walking toward traffic, under California Vehicle Code 21956. However, when doing this, always stay as far on the shoulder as possible, away from the road. There are other details to this law that can help you avoid serious injury.

Helping Pedestrians See Oncoming Traffic

First, remember that this law is to help you see oncoming traffic and drivers to see you. Walking with your back to traffic can lead to a dangerous situation, as you may be unable to move out of the way in time. That is especially important if a driver is distracted or if you are unable to hear oncoming traffic.

Increased visibility can make a big difference in helping you avoid an accident. However, it is important not to rely on being more visible, as careless or distracted drivers may still not see you. Being able to move out of the way of traffic as quickly as possible can play a major role in protecting your safety.

Avoiding Bike Paths and Other Dangerous Situations

Sometimes, pedestrians may consider walking in the bike lane or a bike path, but this can also be dangerous. Bicyclists have a right to roadways and bike lanes when available, and pedestrians sharing these lanes with bicyclists can become hazardous. Although a bicycle may not have the same force behind it as a motor vehicle, it can still lead to catastrophic injuries if one strikes you and knocks you down.

Pedestrians also do not have a right to walk in the bike lane, just as motor vehicles should not drive or park in these lanes. Other vehicles inhabiting this space can lead to serious accidents, which means you may need help from our personal injury lawyers if this happens. Fortunately, if you are involved in any type of accident, we have the tools to help you navigate your claim.

Steps to Take If There Is No Safe Way to Cross

In some cases, you may be on the right side of the road, but you may have few or no options to cross the street safely. For example, you may be on a busy highway with no traffic lights or signs to slow or stop traffic long enough for you to pass. In these cases, staying on the right side and walking as far away from the roadway as possible may be your best option to stay safe.

If you are unsure whether crossing the street is safe, do not take chances. Because you are much more vulnerable in an accident than a motor vehicle, waiting and seeking a safer opportunity is always best.

What Makes Pedestrian Accidents So Dangerous?

Pedestrians have the right of way and other safety measures in place because pedestrians are more vulnerable to accident injuries that can be fatal. Motor vehicles have safety features like seat belts and airbags, which pedestrians do not have to protect from a car’s impact against their body. In fact, many pedestrian accidents can lead to traumatic, even catastrophic injuries, such as the following:

Unfortunately, in many cases, pedestrian accidents can turn fatal quickly. In fact, a loved one may have been involved in a fatal pedestrian accident, which means you may need to file a wrongful death claim on their behalf rather than a pedestrian accident claim. Because these types of accidents are so dangerous, do not hesitate to seek us out for the legal representation you need to protect your compensation.

Steps Pedestrians Can Take to Stay Safe on the Road

As a pedestrian, however, there are steps that you can take to make walking safer. While it can be difficult to avoid every possible accident and account for careless drivers, there are certain steps to help you avoid a dangerous situation that can leave you injured. By taking these steps, you can stay safer on California roadways, whether in a car, on a bike, or on foot.

However, if these steps do not keep you safe because someone else is careless, we may be able to help you navigate your legal situation. You may have grounds for a lawsuit, helping you recover the compensation needed for a recovery. Be sure you are taking the following steps, or reach out for aid following a car accident involving pedestrians.

Increase Your Visibility As Much As Possible

Increased visibility is a key tool for helping avoid dangerous accidents. Not making yourself as visible as possible, especially at night, can lead to dangerous accidents and injuries. Unfortunately, while efforts have been made to increase crosswalk visibility and other measures, there are still areas with little lighting that can be dangerous for pedestrians.

Keep in mind that visibility is crucial to preventing pedestrian accidents. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the nighttime fatality rate across the country is three times higher on roadways at night, and 76% of pedestrian fatalities occur at night. By avoiding nighttime walks on busy streets or even wearing reflective gear, you can help prevent dangerous accidents with catastrophic results.

Pro Tip
If you frequently take walks at night, especially in poorly lit areas, consider bringing reflective clothing or accessories, and always wear white or bright colors. These steps can make you easier to spot for late-night drivers.

Stay on Sidewalks and Cross at Crosswalks Whenever Possible

While staying on a sidewalk is not always possible, using these areas as much as possible can help you stay safe while walking. Sidewalks provide a safe place for pedestrians to navigate without bicyclists or drivers potentially causing an accident. While sidewalks do not stop cars or other vehicles from striking pedestrians in every case, they can give you a safer place to walk, rather than roadways.

Likewise, staying on the sidewalk can help you avoid a dangerous accident. The Freedom to Walk Act, signed in September of 2022, states that jaywalking is allowed as long as it is reasonably safe to do so, But that does not mean you should not seek out crosswalks whenever possible. While you now have more opportunities to cross as long as you are safe legally, crosswalks are still much safer whenever possible.

Watch Out for Careless Drivers

Keep in mind that many drivers are simply not paying attention to the road. They may be distracted by their phones, food, their radios, or even putting on makeup. In fact, according to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2023, of drivers involved in fatal traffic accidents, 12% of these drivers were driving distracted because of their cell phone use, putting pedestrians in danger.

While, as a pedestrian, you are not typically faster than a moving car, staying focused and prepared for distracted drivers can help you avoid serious injury. Simply watching out for drivers who are not slowing down when approaching an intersection can help you avoid serious injuries. Remember that distracted drivers may also be liable for their negligence in a lawsuit.

Always Look Both Ways Before Crossing

Because so many careless drivers may be out on the street at any time, it can protect your health and safety to always look both ways before crossing the street, even if you are crossing at a crosswalk. While other people on the road have a responsibility to protect the safety of others by driving carefully, that does not mean that is always what happens, and failure to look can lead to serious injuries. Being vigilant while on the road or on foot can help keep everyone safe.

Be Cautious in Parking Lots and Around Parked Cars

If you are crossing a parking lot, always be sure to keep an eye on the cars around you. A vehicle could begin backing up at any time, and they may not be able to see you. That can also lead to serious injuries.

This is especially important if children are traveling with you or are passing much larger vehicles like a large truck. These vehicles have much larger blind spots, meaning seeing you can be much more difficult. While these drivers should always do their due diligence to look for pedestrians, taking extra care around these vehicles can help avoid undue injury.

You Have Options to Get Help If You Are Injured in a Pedestrian Accident

Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, there are almost always negligent drivers on the road, which can lead to a serious accident. You may currently be hurt, suffering, and unsure where to begin in the process of navigating your lawsuit. Fortunately, injury victims may have grounds to file a lawsuit and get the help they need.

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, taking the right steps to get compensated is vital. Fortunately, we offer the tools and opportunities to help you file a claim, present that claim in court, and get compensation that can help you through the recovery process. We offer guidance for your injury recovery no matter which option is available to you.

Filing a Claim with the At-Fault Party’s Insurer

In some cases, you may be able to simply file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company and seek out a settlement that covers your needs. California is a fault state under California Code 1714, which means that the party who causes an injury is financially liable for your recovery. In theory, that means you should be able to file an insurance claim with their insurance company, get a settlement offer that meets your needs, and receive fair compensation for your suffering.

Unfortunately, insurance companies frequently do their best to avoid paying for claims like yours. They may delay coverage, offer a low-ball settlement offer, or even deny your claim outright. In these situations, we can help you negotiate when possible or through litigation.

Insurance companies may try to settle quickly with you, but you do not have to accept the first offer you receive. You always have the chance to seek guidance from our lawyers to determine whether you are being offered a fair settlement.

Taking Your Claim to Court

If the at-fault party is unwilling to pay or does not have the insurance coverage necessary to pay for your injuries, you may then choose to settle your case in the courtroom. However, filing a claim and taking it to court can be intimidating, and you may be concerned about the possibility of a loss. Attorneys like our Kevin Crockett are here to help when your claim must go to court.

Our car accident attorneys offer high-quality assistance in the courtroom, starting with our extensive experience as trial attorneys. We offer tools and resources to help you navigate your claim and get the answers you need for your case. We also represent you in the courtroom, meaning you do not have to prepare anything, so you can simply focus on your injury recovery.

Pursue Comprehensive Compensation for a Pedestrian Accident with Our Dedicated, Focused Car Accident Law Firm

As a pedestrian, you are generally more vulnerable to an accident than a driver. Because of this vulnerability, accidents can be extra dangerous for you, leading to potentially harmful accidents and injuries that can change your life. When this happens, you can always contact Text Kevin Accident Attorneys to take measures to help you navigate a car accident lawsuit as a pedestrian.

When you need dedicated, diligent resources and coverage, do not hesitate to contact our team. We offer free consultations, during which we can discuss exactly how we can help your case succeed. Call or fill out our online contact form to learn more about our services.

Kevin Crockett

Kevin Crockett

Kevin Crockett is an award-winning personal injury lawyer who understands the impact an accident can have on someone’s life. That’s why he aggressively fights for each of his clients.

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