After the accident on April 22, 2016 in which 15 year old Jacob Giner was struck as a pedestrian while in a marked crosswalk on Alternate 19 in Palm Harbor, we received several inquiries about the legal requirements for drivers approaching a crosswalk. Here’s what the law says.
Florida Statute 316.130, titled “Pedestrians; traffic regulations,” states that there are two times when a vehicle must stop when a pedestrian is in a marked crosswalk. The first is when the pedestrian steps into the crosswalk on the side of the road on which the vehicle is traveling. The second is when the pedestrian is in the crosswalk on the other side of the road but is closely approaching the side of the road on which the vehicle is traveling so that the pedestrian is in danger. Vehicles are prohibited from overtaking and passing a vehicle that is stopped for a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
What happens if there are flashing lights at the crosswalk, but the pedestrian fails to hit the button to activate them? It doesn’t matter. Vehicles must still stop for pedestrians in a marked crosswalk, even if the flashing lights are not working.
The statute also contains a catchall provision to protect pedestrians which states “Notwithstanding other provisions of this chapter, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian [or bicyclist] and give warning when necessary and exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person.” Children, including high school students, are given special protection, which requires extraordinary caution to be exercised by drivers.