Hurt While Crossing a Highway or Expressway?: Pedestrian Accidents in Florida

Posted By on May 5, 2015

Last Update: 01/05/16

You may shake your head at the thought of someone crossing a busy highway or expressway here in Florida, but it happens more often than you think. Even though the traffic is speeding along, many people decide that they need to cross that roadway despite the danger.

Maybe they have an emergency spurring them on to take the risk; maybe they are cocky and think they can run fast enough that no vehicle is going to hit them. Perhaps the road doesn’t have that much traffic, and the individual thinks that it’s safe enough to cross the expressway at that particular moment. Sometimes, people simply underestimate the danger of crossing an expressway or busy street on foot.

Here in Miami, for example, a tragedy occurred just a few months ago when a mother and her kids were crossing the Palmetto Expressway on the way to Chuck E. Cheese for a New Year’s Day celebration. The mother died and her children suffered serious injuries as they were hit while crossing the freeway by an SUV.

5 Dangers of Walking Across a Highway or Busy Expressway

There are so many dangers involved in crossing a busy highway or expressway on foot. Here are 5 common dangers, including:

1. Drivers are unable to see you walking across an expressway as easily as they can see someone on a street or city road. There aren’t as many overhead lights here, for example.

2. Drivers are focused upon motor vehicle traffic, not pedestrian traffic. Drivers are alert to problems with other vehicles as well as road dangers like construction zones, bad weather, and other drivers who are speeding or driving badly. Drivers are not expecting to be on the alert for foot traffic on an expressway or highway.

3. Heavy rain, storms, and evening hours make crossing an expressway even more dangerous because it is much harder for the drivers to see, stop and/or slow down for an individual crossing in their path.

4. Pedestrians can make mistakes in how fast the traffic is moving, or how soon a car will be upon them, especially on expressway ramps where the cars are speeding up rapidly in order to merge with expressway traffic at the highway speed limit.

5. Even if the pedestrian crossing the expressway doesn’t get hit by a motor vehicle, a serious or fatal traffic accident can still happen — i.e. a driver sees a person trying to cross the freeway and overcompensates to miss hitting them, swerving into the path of another vehicle or suddenly braking and causing a rear-end collision.

The bottom line here, is that it doesn’t matter if someone is trying to cross traffic in the middle of the roadway or at a highway’s entrance or exit ramps. There is simply no safe place to cross other than at a designated crosswalk, if any exist.

Pedestrian Law Regarding Crossing Expressways

Florida Statute 316.130 is the Florida law that applies to people who are on foot and wanting to cross a major highway or expressway here in Florida. In sum:

  • Anyone walking on foot near a highway or expressway must walk on its left side, on the shoulder, facing traffic so that the drivers can see them easily.
  • Hitchhiking is not allowed.
  • Anyone wishing to cross the roadway needs to walk to a marked crosswalk, and if there’s not a marked crosswalk, then they are by law to keep walking until they come to an intersection where they can get to the other side safety.

From the Florida statute:

(4) Where sidewalks are not provided, any pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall, when practicable, walk only on the shoulder on the left side of the roadway in relation to the pedestrian’s direction of travel, facing traffic which may approach from the opposite direction.
(5) No person shall stand in the portion of a roadway paved for vehicular traffic for the purpose of soliciting a ride, employment, or business from the occupant of any vehicle.
(8) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.
(9) Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.
(10) Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
(11) Between adjacent intersections at which traffic control signals are in operation, pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.
(12) No pedestrian shall, except in a marked crosswalk, cross a roadway at any other place than by a route at right angles to the curb or by the shortest route to the opposite curb.
(13) Pedestrians shall move, whenever practicable, upon the right half of crosswalks.
(14) No pedestrian shall cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by official traffic control devices, and, when authorized to cross diagonally, pedestrians shall cross only in accordance with the official traffic control devices pertaining to such crossing movements.
(18) No pedestrian shall walk upon a limited access facility or a ramp connecting a limited access facility to any other street or highway; however, this subsection does not apply to maintenance personnel of any governmental subdivision.

Highway or Expressway Pedestrian Accidents: Can You File a Claim?

Pedestrian accidents all too often result in the individual being seriously and permanently injured or killed. However, there are plenty of circumstances where a driver’s negligence can be shown to have at least contributed to the accident, no matter if the pedestrian was crossing a busy expressway or highway.  A driver who is found to be partially at fault can still be held to pay a portion of the victim’s damages.  In these circumstances, having an experienced personal injury lawyer, like Alan Sackrin, to work on your behalf may be vital in order for you to receive the justice you deserve.

What Should You Do Now?

A good piece of advice if you have been harmed by a pedestrian accident, is to at least speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer before you file a claim to learn about some of the issues that can arise with these claims, including the type of evidence needed to prove a claim and the type and amount of damages you can recover. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person) to answer your questions.

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Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.

 

 

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