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When does a pedestrian have the right of way in Texas?

Many people believe that in Texas a pedestrian always has the right of way over a motor vehicle. But, this is not the case. There are situations when the pedestrian has the right of way, but they are limited.

Under Texas law, a pedestrian has the right of way when that person is in a marked crosswalk with no traffic signal controlling the intersection. The pedestrian must be in the same half of the roadway as the approaching vehicle, or approaching closely enough from the other half of the roadway to be in a position of danger. A pedestrian does not have the right of way, however, if that person steps suddenly off the curb into the path of an approaching vehicle and the approaching driver has no time to yield.

A pedestrian also has the right of way in Texas while crossing a street facing a solid green light or "Walk" signal. If the only green light displayed is a turn arrow, the pedestrian does not have the right of way. A pedestrian does not have the right of way when facing a "Wait" or "Don't Walk" sign, even if they are in the crosswalk.

When not crossing a street, pedestrians should stay on the sidewalk, if there is one. If there is no sidewalk, the statute requires the pedestrian, if possible, to walk on the left side of the roadway or on the shoulder, facing oncoming traffic.

The end result of a pedestrian traffic accident is often serious injury or death for the pedestrian. When a pedestrian is struck by a negligent driver, the victim may still have a claim, even if the pedestrian did not have the right of way. Under Texas's comparative fault law, as long as the pedestrian was not more negligent than the driver it may still be possible to recover damages.

Source: Tex. Transp. Code §§ 552.001-.006, accessed Sept. 7, 2015

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