Your Pedestrian Rights in Colorado

In every state in the nation, pedestrians have protected rights along roadways and at intersections. Between 5% to 30% of people traveling through any town or city will be doing so on foot – depending on the city and time of day. Whether you don’t have a car or prefer to walk to nearby locations, this is your right to use the safe spaces along the roadside as your path. Here in Colorado, we have very clear pedestrian rights when it comes to right-of-way, safety, and conduct for both drivers and those on foot. As long as everyone follows the rules, no one gets hurt. However, there’s a reason that around 20% of traffic deaths every year are pedestrians and not occupants of a vehicle. When these tragedies and injuries occur, it’s vital to identify what went wrong. Usually, it’s a violation of your pedestrian rights and therefore a liable offense on the part of the driver.

Let’s take a closer look at your pedestrian rights in the state of Colorado.

Understanding Pedestrian Rights in Colorado

Pedestrian Crosswalk Right-of-Way

  •  Your Half of the Crosswalk
  •  With or Without a Signal

A painted crosswalk on the road becomes pedestrian territory. A pedestrian crossing over a crosswalk has the legal right-of-way and approaching or turning drivers must yield. They are allowed to cross the crosswalk. But only the half not currently occupied by a pedestrian and not close enough to put the pedestrian at risk.

For example, if you cross at a stop sign crosswalk, a car that stops for you may continue once you pass a safe distance into the other (left) side of the crosswalk, out of their vehicle’s lane space.

If there is no signal, pedestrians always have the right-of-way on the crosswalk. This is as long as they wait for the most recent car to pass and do not move suddenly into the road.

Pedestrian “Walk” and “Don’t Walk” Right-of-Way

  • Drivers Give Way When “Walk” is Active or “Don’t Walk” is Flashing
  • Pedestrians Give Way When “Don’t Walk” is Active

At intersections that have pedestrian Walk and Don’t Walk signals, right-of-way (and safety!) depends on the visible symbol. When the “Walk” symbol is showing or the warning “Don’t Walk” symbol is flashing, pedestrians have right-of-way and drivers must wait. It doesn’t matter what color the traffic lights are.

Drivers have the right-of-way and pedestrians must yield when the “Don’t Walk” symbol is lit and solid. Drivers can then go forward or turn without worrying about pedestrian safety.

Pedestrian Duty of Personal Safety

  • Not “Suddenly Leaving the Curb”
  • Making Use of Pedestrian Tunnels and Bridges

In Colorado, pedestrian rights also include a certain duty of personal safety. The first and most important rule is that pedestrians try to avoid “suddenly leaving the curb”, effectively jumping into view of drivers and in danger of vehicles. Pedestrians should indicate clearly that they will cross and start at a walking pace when there is a break in traffic. This is so drivers can have a chance to see the pedestrian and come to a safe stop.

If there is a pedestrian bridge or tunnel that provides safe crossing, as is common in our larger cities, then pedestrians are obliged to take these traffic-free routes rather than crossing at a road intersection. However, this does not free drivers from the duty of watching for pedestrians taking a street-level route.

Pedestrian Line-Skipping Protection

One interesting pedestrian rights law in Colorado is the line-skipping law. If a vehicle has stopped to let a pedestrian pass, the vehicle(s) behind them may not go around to drive through the crosswalk or intersection. This is true whether or not the pedestrian originally had the right-of-way, as the first car created right-of-way when they stopped and the pedestrian stepped – in an assumption of safety – into the road.

What to Do If You Have Been Hit by a Car

Did you encounter an accident as a pedestrian in a roadside or crosswalk accident? Did you know someone involved in a pedestrian accident? The driver is most likely the liable party and responsible for the accident. He is also responsible for the medical and occupational expenses resulting from the accident.

Contact us today to consult on your pedestrian rights. Find out the potential to lift the burden of medical bills off your shoulders with a personal injury settlement.

Here at Combs and Brown, we know that pedestrian accidents can be devastating. Our team helps the recklessly injured rebuild a life and holds the liable party responsible.