There’s a reason that jaywalking can be illegal. Pedestrians are supposed to use crosswalks, some of which may even be light controlled. The idea is that this controls the flow of traffic – when that traffic includes vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians – and that can keep people safe.
But do crosswalks actually work? Do they keep pedestrians from being injured in motor vehicle accidents?
They are a safer option, but nothing is perfect
It is true that using a crosswalk is safer than jaywalking. Simply being where drivers expect you to be can help them avoid causing an accident. This is similar to how cyclists shouldn’t use sidewalks because that is not where drivers or pedestrians expect them to be.
Additionally, jaywalking can put you at excessive risk if it’s nighttime, if there’s reduced visibility, if a driver is distracted or if there are other factors that contribute. Being in a crosswalk is generally wise and there is a reason that these laws exist.
However, a crosswalk is just a section of painted lines on the road. This doesn’t do anything to physically prevent a vehicle from striking a pedestrian. A driver who is distracted may run a red light and hit someone who is legally in the crosswalk. A driver who is turning left may not see the pedestrian behind the pillar of the car and then hit them while they execute the turn.
Pedestrians simply need to be aware of the risks that they take when they walk around traffic. If even following traffic laws doesn’t prevent you from being injured by a negligent driver, then you need to know how to seek financial compensation for your injuries.
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