Not crossing the street at a crosswalk, otherwise known as jaywalking, is a commonly known illegal act, albeit relatively minor. Like most laws in California, jaywalking was designed to keep both pedestrians and drivers safe. But jaywalking has also been used by police as a means of stopping certain people under the pretext of keeping them safe.
Because of the dangers that pedestrians face when crossing a street, either legally or illegally, California legislators passed AB 2147, or The Freedom To Walk Act, in late 2022 to decriminalize jaywalking throughout the state, including right here in Fresno. What this means for pedestrians, including those that are trying to walk their bike across the street, is that they no longer need to wait for a crosswalk to move from one side of the street to the other. However, whether walking a bicycle across the street or not, you may still want to consider the relative safety of a crosswalk.
Fresno Bicycle Accident Lawyers Will Work Hard For You
At Maison Law, we know how difficult a bicycle accident can be on you and your family. Whether it happens while riding your bike or just trying to walk your bike across the street, accidents with distracted or reckless drivers are always possible. When these unfortunate events strike, our team of experienced and dedicated Fresno bicycle accident lawyers can go to work for you, making sure you have the resources you need to focus on your recovery.
To learn more about how our firm will work for you, contact us for a free consultation.
How Does AB 2147 Apply in Fresno?
AB 2147, also known as The Freedom to Walk Act, was passed into law in California on September 30, 2022. The law will officially go into effect on January 1, 2023, and will do the following as it relates to pedestrians in Fresno and throughout the state:
- Legalize crossings outside of a crosswalk or against a traffic light when safe, thus eliminating fines for safe crossings.
- Only permit police to stop someone attempting to cross the street “when a reasonably careful person would realize there is an immediate danger of a collision.”
Once the law goes into effect, you will legally be able to walk your bike across the street in Fresno.
However, when you choose to get off your bike to walk with it across a street (or for any reason) you go from a rider to a pedestrian. This means that you need to stay alert and cognizant of how other drivers will see and respond to you.
Causes Of Fresno Street Crossing Accidents
When trying to walk your bike across the street in Fresno, you will have effectively become the same as any other pedestrian trying to get from one side of the street to the other. As with any other accident, pedestrian accidents have a fairly common list of causes, which typically include:
- Distracted driving or texting while driving.
- Failing to yield to pedestrians at intersections.
- Turning at intersections without looking both ways.
- Driving too fast or recklessly, making it impossible to stop on time.
- Not following posted speed limits.
- Drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs.
- Design defects in intersection locations, including failure to consider flows of traffic.
While most pedestrian accidents are caused by negligent actions on the part of the driver, you also have to take your actions into account. This is especially true if you decide not to use a crosswalk to walk your bike across the street, as drivers will not be expecting you to cross where you are.
The plain and simple fact is that pedestrians have little protection against a moving car, with its much heavier build and metal frame. Adding the additional task of walking with a bike to cross the street only increases the risk, since it’s something else that takes your focus off of oncoming traffic. As such, injuries such as the following can occur in an accident:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal injuries
- Road burn and other skin injuries
- Bruises, scrapes, and sprains
- Burn injuries from contact with fuel or other hot components of a car
These injuries can all vary in severity and treatment, but one thing is true no matter what type of injury you suffer: you’re going to have medical bills. Because an insurance company is ultimately going to decide how much compensation you’ll receive, it’s important to make sure that you keep up with any treatment plan your doctor gives you. Also, consulting with our Fresno bicycle accident lawyers can make the claims process much simpler.
Who Is Liable For Injuries in a Fresno Street Crossing Accident?
Once you’ve actually been in an accident trying to walk your bike across the street, any potential recovery of damages will rest with figuring out who is liable for the accident. Again, in a pedestrian accident, the fault will rest with whoever acted negligently–which is usually the driver of the car that collided with you.
As a quick reminder, negligence has four elements:
- The driver has a duty of care to others on the road to avoid causing an accident or injury.
- The driver breached this duty of care by driving negligently or recklessly.
- When the driver breached their duty, it caused the accident.
- The accident (and injuries that were caused by it) were the direct result of the driver’s actions.
Every driver that gets behind the wheel of a car in Fresno has a legal duty to follow and obey all traffic laws. Consequently, when they fail to do so and cause an accident, they are considered liable for any damages.
However, even though crossing the street outside of a clearly marked crosswalk with signs is technically legal, it could be viewed as contributing to the causing of an accident. This is especially true if you try to cross the street at a busy time or at night, when visibility is low.
Insurance companies will use whatever facts they can to reduce their exposure in accident claims, and with California’s comparative negligence statute, any percentage of fault you share in the accident reduces your potential recovery by that same percentage.
Knowledgeable Fresno Street Crossing Lawyers Can Help You
Fresno and California law both provide some guidelines for you in situations where you’re trying to cross the street with your bike, but it can still be a bit confusing. That’s where the expertise of our team of Fresno bicycle and pedestrian accident lawyers at Maison Law can be of service to you. We can explain your particular situation, help you understand what rights you have, and come up with a plan that will help you get back on the road to recovery.
We offer free, no-obligation consultation for clients in Fresno and throughout central California. Let our knowledge and expertise go to work for you by contacting us today.