What Is Daylighting? California Pedestrian Laws You Need to Know

California Pedestrian Laws

Cross at pedestrian crossing marked crosswalk or unmarked crosswalk

In 2024, California passed several new traffic laws to prioritize pedestrian and road safety, which is a growing concern throughout the state. Whether walking to school, work, or for pleasure, pedestrians face imminent dangers when they walk on busy streets and cross major intersections. In Anaheim, many lives have been tragically lost due to preventable motor vehicle collisions.

For information regarding California law and what to do if you’ve been in a pedestrian accident, speak to our Anaheim pedestrian accident lawyer in a free consultation. 


Daylighting: Parking Near Crosswalks

Crossing light tells pedestrians to go

One of the most important laws passed that took effect in 2024 was Assembly Bill (AB) 413, also known as the “daylighting” bill. This bill makes it illegal for motor vehicles to park within 20 feet of a marked or unmarked crosswalk. This gives give pedestrians and motorists better visibility. 

The practice of daylighting has been proven to be an effective way to reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities. The city of Hoboken, New Jersey, which limits parking near crosswalks, has not had a single traffic death in seven years. Many credit daylighting as one of the biggest reasons for the city’s zero traffic fatalities. 


Speed Cameras To Be Installed in Six California Cities

Another traffic law that took effect in 2024 aimed at reducing pedestrian fatalities is Assembly Bill (AB) 645. The new law authorizes speed cameras in six California cities: Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and Glendale. The cameras will be installed in accident prone areas such as school zones and streets where illegal street racing is popular.

The speed cameras will ticket drivers going at least 11 mph or over the speed limit. Fines range from $50 to $500, depending on the speed. Speeding is among the top factors when it comes to pedestrian-traffic accidents. 

In a study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a vehicle going 42 mph is five times more likely to kill a pedestrian when hit than 25 mph. 


Who Has the Right-of-Way in California?

Yield to pedestrians the right of way do not stop in bike lanes

Pedestrians are defined as anyone not traveling by motor vehicle or bicycle. People riding skateboards, in wheelchairs, and on roller skates are all considered pedestrians. In general, pedestrians always have the right-of-way under California law. 

As per California Vehicle Code 21950, drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing the road within any marked or unmarked crosswalk. It also states that pedestrians have a duty of using due care for their safety and not to stop or delay traffic unnecessarily. If pedestrians cross outside of a crosswalk, they putt themselves in danger. 

Unfortunately, many motorists fail to give pedestrians the right-of-way at intersections, which leads to many serious and fatal California pedestrian accidents. 


Is Jaywalking Legal? 

In 2023, California passed Assembly Bill (AB) 2147, which prohibits officers from stopping pedestrians for jaywalking unless there is an immediate danger of a crash. 

In effect, pedestrians are allowed to cross outside of a crosswalk ONLY if it is safe to do so. Pedestrians can still be ticketed if they cross in front of the path of an oncoming vehicle. 

Pedestrians should still exercise caution and cross at a pedestrian crossing whenever possible. 


How to Stay Safe as a Pedestrian

Cross at marked or unmarked crosswalks watch out for blind pedestrian

Pedestrian fatalities continue to rise, underscoring the need for better pedestrian safety and awareness. In 2021, there were 1,108 pedestrian fatalities in California, a 9.3% increase from 2020. Many experts attribute the rise in pedestrian deaths to more large vehicles on the road.  Pedestrian accidents are especially common in urban areas and on arterial roads.  

Here are some safety tips to keep in mind as a pedestrian:

  • Walk on sidewalks when available.  If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
  • Be visible. Wear light colors and reflective materials, especially at night. Carry a flashlight or a blinking light.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing. Do not assume that drivers see you or will stop for you.
  • Do not use your phone, headphones, or other devices that can take your attention away from the road.
  • Do not walk under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as they can impair your judgment and abilities.
  • Watch out for cars entering or exiting driveways, parking lots, or alleys. 
  • Do not use bike lanes when there is an adjacent adequate pedestrian facility, such as sidewalks or designated walking paths.

Tips for Drivers

  • Do not stop your vehicle in an unmarked or marked crosswalk.
  • Do not go around a vehicle stopped in an intersection.
  • Look before backing up.
  • Follow the speed limit, especially around school zones.
  • Be on the lookout for pedestrians at night. 
  • Give more time for blind pedestrians to cross the street.


Comparative Negligence in Pedestrian Accidents

If a pedestrian accident occurs, there can be a lot of confusion as to who is at fault. Did the pedestrian step onto the path of oncoming traffic without looking? Was the driver speeding or distracted? In order to determine who is at fault, your best bet is speaking with a pedestrian accident attorney. They will have a deep understanding of California crosswalk laws and comparative negligence laws.

California follows pure comparative negligence rules, which allows injured parties to recover damages even if they are partly at fault for the accident, but reduces their compensation by their percentage of fault. So, if a pedestrian was 30% at fault and the driver was 70% at fault, the pedestrian can recover 70% of the damages.


Talk to a Pedestrian Accident Attorney in Anaheim

Pedestrians crossing crosswalk laws

Pedestrian accidents are among the deadliest types of traffic accidents. If you or a loved one was hit by a car while walking in Anaheim, you may need to obtain legal representation. The pedestrian accident attorneys at Katella Injury Attorneys can be your advocate and fight the insurance company on your behalf. We are dedicated to helping pedestrian accident victims recover financial compensation for their injuries and other losses.

To speak with our experienced lawyer, you do not have to pay a dime. Our law firm works on a contingency plan, meaning we do not collect any upfront legal fees unless we win a settlement for you. To schedule a free consultation with our Anaheim pedestrian accident lawyer, call (714) 395-5514 or reach out to us online

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