Palm Harbor Pedestrian Fatality – July 11, 2014

Rhonda Dreher was killed when she was struck by a car driven by Michael Marinin on U.S. Hwy 19 north of Tampa Rd.  Dreher was reportedly not in a cross-walk, however, use of a cross-walk is not required by law if no cross-walk exists.  Florida Statute 316.130, titled “Pedestrians; traffic regulations,” requires pedestrians crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk to yield the right of way to vehicles on the roadway.  Pedestrians are also required to cross a roadway at right angles to the curb or by the shortest route to the opposite curb.  If adjacent intersections have traffic control signals or crosswalks, pedestrians are required to cross the roadway at one of the intersection crosswalks.  Despite the pedestrians’ obligation to yield the right of way to vehicles when they are crossing the road at a place that does not have a crosswalk, drivers are required to exercise due care to avoid colliding with pedestrians, bicyclists, and children.  Florida Statute 316.130 provides that “every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle and give warning when necessary and exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person.”  This statute entitles an injured pedestrian or bicyclist to a jury instruction at trial regarding a motorist’s responsibility to take evasive action.  See Beeman v. Cosmides, 825 So. 2d 511 (Fla. 3d DCA 2002).