While many people are aware of the frequency of being pulled over by law enforcement when driving, fewer individuals may be aware of law enforcement’s ability to conduct a stop on a pedestrian. Similar to drivers, pedestrians may be stopped by law enforcement officers when they commit a traffic offense.
Pedestrian laws are made up of Florida state laws and rules, regulations and ordinances of towns, municipalities and cities. Individuals who are near the roadway but not in a vehicle are still required to obey laws to keep those on the roadway and vicinity safe.
Definition of Pedestrian
The colloquial definition of a pedestrian is someone who is on foot. However, this definition is often extended to include individuals in wheelchairs, in motorized wheelchairs or scooters, on skates, on roller blades, on skateboards or on foot-powered scooters. The relevant definition of a pedestrian is in the law that the pedestrian is being accused of violating. For some areas, foot-powered scooters, Segues and hover boards are specifically included in the definition of a pedestrian. Bicyclists may also be included in the definition of a pedestrian although they may still be required to obey additional laws based on cyclist laws or motorist laws.
When Pedestrian Laws Apply
Pedestrian laws often dictate the way that pedestrians must act on a roadway, street, highway, railroad crossing, roadway crossing, sidewalks and at traffic signals. If someone violates a pedestrian law and is involved in an accident, this can have an impact on whether criminal charges are lobbied against drivers or the pedestrian. A pedestrian may also be subject to these laws if his or her illegal act is observed by a law enforcement officer.
Common Pedestrian Laws
While pedestrian laws vary by jurisdiction, some common laws include:
1. Pedestrians must walk on a sidewalk when one is provided. There may be an exception if the sidewalk is obstructed, such as if construction is being completed on the sidewalk or adjacent area.
2. Pedestrians must walk on the shoulder of the roadway if a sidewalk is not available.
3. The pedestrian must walk on the left side of the roadway. This allows the pedestrian to see oncoming traffic.
4. Pedestrians should not stand in the roadway. Many areas have laws that prohibit loitering or obstructing traffic in this manner.
5. Pedestrians shall use crosswalks when available.
6. Pedestrians must obey traffic signals when crossing a roadway.
If the pedestrian violates a traffic law, he or she may be stopped by law enforcement. Law enforcement may ask questions and may issue a citation.
Violation of Pedestrian Laws
A pedestrian who violates a pedestrian law may receive a citation to appear in municipal court. If a pedestrian does not obey the applicable law, this can be the consequence. This can be the result when a pedestrian does not use a sidewalk, does not use a crosswalk or disobeys a traffic control signal when crossing the road. This can also occur when a pedestrian fails to yield to traffic when crossing an intersection when crossing somewhere other than a crosswalk, crossing between adjacent intersections, crossing a roadway when there is an alternative or running into a roadway when there is oncoming traffic can also subject a pedestrian to criminal charges.
Pedestrians who are facing criminal charges due to violations of pedestrian laws may choose to contact a criminal defense lawyer for assistance. Being convicted of a criminal charge can result in the imposition of a fine, probation, community service and possibly jail time. Additionally, a person can acquire a criminal record that follows him or her for the rest of that person’s life. To avoid the negative consequences of a conviction, pedestrians may choose to contact a criminal defense lawyer for assistance. A lawyer can explain the person’s rights and options and represent the individual by trying to get the charges dismissed or reduced.
Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.
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