Is Jaywalking Legal in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, jaywalking is not explicitly prohibited, but there are still rules and regulations that pedestrians must follow when crossing streets. Motorists and pedestrians alike should understand these laws to protect themselves and others on the road. This understanding can also help inform you of your rights if you’re involved in an accident with a motor vehicle.

What Are the Laws Regulating Pedestrian Traffic? 

Pennsylvania law states that pedestrians must obey traffic control devices, exercise caution, and yield to vehicles when crossing streets outside of crosswalks. Pedestrians must cross at designated crosswalks when available and when traffic control devices are working properly. Additionally, pedestrians should use sidewalks whenever possible and yield the right-of-way to emergency vehicles.

Finally, pedestrians in Pennsylvania are prohibited from crossing intersections diagonally unless they cross with the directive from a traffic control device, police officer, or other authorized personnel. This law is put into place to ensure everyone can cross safely and have ample opportunity to complete their cross in an orderly fashion. 

Understanding Pedestrian Rights-of-Way 

Both pedestrians and motorists need to be aware of right-of-way laws relating to pedestrians. Motorists are required to abide by the following regulations:

Crosswalks with Traffic Signals 

In intersections with traffic signals, pedestrians have the right of way when crossing the street. Even if the traffic signal has not yet changed from green to red for approaching vehicles, motorists must still yield to pedestrians who have already begun crossing. 

Failing to do so can result in serious injuries or even death for unsuspecting pedestrians crossing the road. It is important that drivers remain vigilant at all times and grant every pedestrian their right of way when they are present in a crosswalk.

Pedestrians Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired 

Motorists should remain mindful of their surroundings to ensure the safety of pedestrians who are blind or visually impaired. Always be aware and take extra precautions when driving near these individuals. These individuals may be utilizing a white cane or seeing-eye dog while attempting to cross the road. 

In these cases, motorists must always grant them their right of way, regardless of any traffic signals present at an intersection. This also applies if no traffic signals are present—drivers should always be on alert and use extra caution when approaching any intersections where pedestrians could be entering or exiting.

Avoiding Vehicle Collisions with Pedestrians 

Vehicle collisions involving pedestrians can lead to catastrophic injury or death, making it crucial for all drivers to exercise caution. Safety should be the top priority when it comes to these potentially dangerous situations.

That’s why it is critical for drivers to exercise reasonable caution and avoid hitting pedestrians whenever possible by reducing their speed at intersections and always yielding the right-of-way whenever a pedestrian is present. By taking these simple steps, drivers can help ensure that everyone remains safe while traveling on our nation’s roads and highways.

What If You’re Hit By a Car While Jaywalking?

Getting hit by a car while crossing the street can be a terrifying experience. It’s important to understand your legal options if you are injured in such a pedestrian accident and how Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence rule applies.

Understanding the Comparative Negligence Rule in Pennsylvania 

In Pennsylvania, fault is apportioned using something called modified comparative negligence. An individual who is partially at fault for an accident can still pursue legal action and seek compensation for any injuries suffered. They may be able to recover damages, even with the fact that they have partly contributed to the incident. However, if their level of fault is 51% or more, they cannot recover compensation.

It also means that their recovery amount will be reduced based on their degree of fault. In other words, if someone is found 25% liable for an accident, their potential recovery amount will be reduced by 25%.

Example: Pedestrian Hit By a Car While Jaywalking 

Let’s assume that a pedestrian was hit by a car while jaywalking, and the driver had a blood alcohol content above the legal limit at the time. The jury could find the driver 75% liable for causing the accident, with the remaining 25% assigned to the pedestrian due to them jaywalking. So, if the pedestrian is awarded $100,000, they would receive 75% of that, or $75,000.

Though it may be legal to jaywalk in Pennsylvania under many circumstances, pedestrians should always exercise caution when crossing streets outside of crosswalks. 

If you have been injured while jaywalking or otherwise crossing outside a designated Pennsylvania crosswalk, we can help. Contact our experienced pedestrian accident attorneys today to schedule a free consultation.

If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, please contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:

Harrisburg Law Office
945 East Park Drive, Suite 103 Harrisburg, PA 17111
(717) 231-1640

York Law Office
2550 Kingston Road, Suite 210A York, PA 17401
(717) 995-8998

Wyomissing Law Office
833 N. Park Road, Suite 103, Room A Wyomissing, PA 19610
(717) 388-2325

Chambersburg Law Office
79 St. Paul Drive, Suite 1 Chambersburg, PA 17201
(717) 388-2378

Carlisle Law Office
354 Alexander Springs Road Carlisle, PA 17015
(717) 995-8732

Carbondale Law Office
30 Lincoln Avenue, Suite 101 Carbondale, PA 18407
(717) 995-8810

Lancaster Law Office
2173 Embassy Drive, Ste 123, Lancaster Pa 17603
(717) 616-2954

Lebanon Law Office
937 Willow Street, Suite D Lebanon, PA 17042-1140
(717) 995-8963