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Pedestrian Laws in Texas

Pedestrian-vehicle collisions are prevalent disasters in Texas – especially in metropolitan areas such as Houston and Dallas. In 2019 alone, the Department of Transportation reported 660 pedestrian deaths in Texas. This was a 5.43% increase from 2018. One of the most effective ways to prevent pedestrian accidents is for drivers to understand and obey Texas’ pedestrian laws.

Rights-of-Way at Traffic Control Signals

Pedestrian rights-of-way are the number one broken law in pedestrian-vehicle accidents in Texas. Many drivers do not understand or respect pedestrians’ rights to the road. This leads to preventable collisions at crosswalks and intersections. At traffic control signals in Texas, unless otherwise directed by an authority, pedestrians have the right to cross marked or unmarked intersections at green lights (Texas Transportation Code 552.001). At yellow or red lights, pedestrians must yield to oncoming vehicles. Pedestrians must also obey traffic signals that display Walk or Don’t Walk signs.

Rights-of-Way at Crosswalks

In general, vehicle drivers must always yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in crosswalks. If a pedestrian is crossing the driver’s half of a crosswalk, that driver must come to a complete stop until the pedestrian has crossed the road. Pedestrians have the right-of-way at crosswalks when no traffic control signals are present or in operation, when the pedestrian is on the same side of the road as the vehicle in the crosswalk, and when the pedestrian is approaching the same side of the road fast enough to constitute a risk to the pedestrian if the driver proceeds. Failing to yield to pedestrians in these situations could cause preventable collisions.

Pedestrian Responsibilities in Texas

Although pedestrians often bear the right-of-way to cross the road in Texas, they may not leave a curb or walk into the roadway when it is not safe to do so. Pedestrians must look both ways and make sure no vehicles are approaching quickly enough to constitute a hazard before leaving the curb. It is against the law in Texas for a pedestrian to suddenly step into the road into the path of a vehicle that is too close to be able to reasonably stop.

Pedestrians also cannot cross the road at any place other than marked or unmarked intersections or crosswalks. Crossing the road at a place between two intersections is the traffic violation of jaywalking. Jaywalking could lead to a ticket in some cities in Texas. Finally, pedestrians must use sidewalks when they are present and accessible. If there is a sidewalk available, it is against the law for the pedestrian to walk in the roadway or on the shoulder of a road. With no sidewalk available, the pedestrian must keep to the far left side of the roadway – the side facing traffic. A pedestrian could be liable for an accident caused by breaking any of these rules.

What to Do After a Pedestrian Accident in Texas

If someone broke a pedestrian law and crashed into you while you were walking or jogging in Houston, you may be able to hold that person financially responsible for your injuries and losses. Start by collecting information from the scene of your pedestrian accident. Write down the driver’s name, a description of the crash, the vehicle’s license plate number and the driver’s insurance information. Take photographs of the crash scene, as well, if you can.

Always call 911 to report a pedestrian accident that causes injuries. Write down your police report number for future use. Go to the hospital immediately for a checkup and injury diagnosis. Ask to keep copies of your medical records. Then, call the driver’s insurance company to file a claim. Before you say yes to an insurance settlement, contact a Houston pedestrian accident attorney for advice. An attorney can make sure the driver’s insurance company offers an appropriate amount for your serious injuries.