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  1. #1
    jrm
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    California Bicycle Law Question..

    The CVC claims that vehicles have to yield right of way to pedestrians if there in a cross walk. If i have a green light and a pedestrian with a "Dont Walk" signal crosses in front of me in the crosswalk do i still have to yield right of way to them even though there jaywalking b/c there in the crosswalk?

    I almost nailed some pedestrian last Friday when they tried to cross in front of me. It shook me up b/c i could have seriously injured this guy and myself...

    TIA

  2. #2
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    I'll preface this with all important: I am not a lawyer, this isn't legal advice. But I have been curious about this in the past and did a little research, keep in mind laws will vary from area to area.

    Basically the lights should rule, if you have the green and they have the don't walk sign they should be yielding to you. However, once they are in the crosswalk you are likely obligated to stop for them anyway. This is with regard to your liability to get a ticket from police. They could get a ticket for jaywalking and you for failure to yield.

    If we are talking about civil liability (them suing you for hitting them), I don't think a vehicle (bike or car) is ever going to be free from liability when they collide with a pedestrian no matter what.


    TLDR; Don't hit the idiots even if it seems like they deserve it.

  3. #3
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    I believe anywhere in the U.S. cars must yield to bikes and pedestrians, and bikes must yield to pedestrians regardless of traffic signals.
    Last edited by commuterbik; 1 Week Ago at 11:35 AM.

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    We may end up seeing more and more vehicle/pedestrian collisions due to idiots playing on their smart phones. I've more than once almost collided with a pedestrian playing on their phone, not paying attention. When on the bike I never even bring mine let alone use it. So if you get injured while on a bike colliding with a ped playing on their dumb phone, who is liable?
    DAMN THE MUD, FULL SPEED AHEAD!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by OlMarin View Post
    We may end up seeing more and more vehicle/pedestrian collisions due to idiots playing on their smart phones. I've more than once almost collided with a pedestrian playing on their phone, not paying attention. When on the bike I never even bring mine let alone use it. So if you get injured while on a bike colliding with a ped playing on their dumb phone, who is liable?
    IMO, I think it would be the cyclist who is at fault, even though the pedestrian is not paying attention.

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    Quote Originally Posted by commuterbik View Post
    IMO, I think it would be the cyclist who is at fault, even though the pedestrian is not paying attention.
    I think you're correct. However there isn't any specific law addressing it. That's the trouble with ANY legal system. No way every 'what if' can be addressed. It would be up to the court/s to make determinations All we can do is be aware of our surroundings.
    BTW I posted in another thread about a bonehead on a bike I passed who looked like he was riding drunk. Had his phone on his handlebar and was busy with that instead of paying attention
    DAMN THE MUD, FULL SPEED AHEAD!!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by commuterbik View Post
    I believe anywhere in the U.S. cars must yield to bikes and pedestrians, and bikes must yield to pedestrians regardless of traffic signals.
    That has loosely been my understanding in the slightly better than half dozen states I've lived in.

    Except it's worth pointing out that I've never lived anywhere that the traffic laws expressly declare that motorists must yield to cyclists. The reason being that cyclists are considered equal to cars in most respects under the law. The only places I've seen that as an exception have been at certain multiuse trail crossings, where they're signed or signalized. Invariably, the trails have STOP signs, while the roads have some sort of vague signage or lights indicating a ped crossing/crosswalk or in some cases, lights that actually change to stop traffic on the road when peds/cyclists reach the intersection. Of course, the vast majority of peds/cyclists completely ignore the stop signs on their end and just go straight into the intersection, assuming cars will stop. And most of the time they do. And it's reached a point in some places where trail users have conditioned cars to stop at the trail crossing ALL THE TIME, even when trail users are actually obeying the stop signs on their end and the car has the right of way to cross. And of course, since these are MUT's, it occurs with cyclists, too. The cyclists are probably the biggest culprits to ignoring the stop signs at road crossings, but the runners seem to do it an awful lot, too.

    Now, it's also an understanding of mine that the biggest and/or fastest vehicle on the road has an unstated obligation NOT TO HIT those who are more vulnerable. The only places that actually enshrine such a policy into law have specific vulnerable road user laws. This basically takes into account the consequences of a collision. If a more "vulnerable" road user collides with a larger, less vulnerable one, the vulnerable user who screwed up bears most of the risk. It's on them. If a less vulnerable user collides with a more vulnerable user, then the more vulnerable user STILL bears more risk. The only one whose behavior you can control is your own. This is even more generally enshrined into defensive driving techniques. And AFAIK, I've not lived anywhere that has had a vulnerable road user law on the books. So it's always been a vague thing that means next to nothing when it comes down to it. When a ped or cyclist is hit by a car, it's pretty rare that anything ever happens. But of course there's outrage EVERY. TIME. a cyclist collides with a ped.

  8. #8
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    Lived and licensed and rode, drove, and walked in 3 states and one province. All road users have the obligation to avoid an accident. My wife's blind WWII vet uncle accidentally stepped out in front of traffic. His death was unavoidable once he stepped into the busy street. A gap in the fence was misread as the access to the pedestrian overpass. The driver had no chance to avoid it.

    Pedestrians embeded in their phones who step out into traffic when there is no chance to stop whether you are on a bike or driving a car, would seem to be an exception if the motorist or cyclist has not run a light or sign.

    Part will be determined by how rich the pedestrian is and the lawyer they get to sue you.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by OlMarin View Post
    I think you're correct. However there isn't any specific law addressing it. That's the trouble with ANY legal system. No way every 'what if' can be addressed. It would be up to the court/s to make determinations All we can do is be aware of our surroundings.
    BTW I posted in another thread about a bonehead on a bike I passed who looked like he was riding drunk. Had his phone on his handlebar and was busy with that instead of paying attention
    I agree with you. I think smartphones have added to the danger for all on the road. I primarily ride on sidewalks when commuting and I never before worried to much that a car would veer off the road onto the sidewalk, but now that possibility is always on my mind. I can't imagine seriously thinking of riding on the actual road, even with bicycle lanes that are usually pretty small and we're an afterthought and not planned when the road was built.

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