Many people choose walking as a choice that’s healthier for themselves and the environment when navigating errands within their communities or for exercise or pleasure. Colorado’s scenic views and sunny weather make it an excellent state for pedestrians to enjoy walking. Most people assume they are safe when following street markings and traffic signals as they cross the street, yet 92 Colorado pedestrians were killed in traffic-related accidents in 2021.
Colorado has many laws in place to protect pedestrians. Any violation of these laws that result in injury to a pedestrian leaves the at-fault driver liable and their insurance must pay the damages. If you or a loved one was injured in a pedestrian accident, consider speaking with an experienced Westminster personal injury lawyer.
Colorado Laws for Pedestrian Guidance
Pedestrians are not exempt from traffic laws despite having the right of way in most situations. In Colorado, pedestrians are tasked with the duty to actively avoid danger. The following laws are meant to protect pedestrian safety:
- Pedestrians crossing intersections must use marked crosswalks and should never jaywalk (cross in unmarked areas)
- If no crosswalk is present, pedestrians must yield the right of way to traffic
- If there is a pedestrian tunnel or overhead crossing in place but a pedestrian crosses through traffic, they must yield the right of way to vehicles
- Pedestrians must follow “Walk” and “Don’t Walk” signals at intersections
- Pedestrians must allow ample time to cross through traffic and never place themselves in the path of a vehicle when they don’t have enough time to cross safely
- A pedestrian may not legally cross a roadway to a parked or stopped vehicle on the opposite side of the road except on local 2-lane streets
If a pedestrian disregards any of the above Colorado pedestrian laws, they may be at fault in a resulting accident or bear liability for any damages.
Pedestrian Laws for Colorado Drivers
Drivers in Colorado must always be vigilant about adhering to pedestrian traffic laws intended to keep pedestrians safe from harm. A vehicle that weighs thousands of pounds can do great damage to a vulnerable pedestrian. The laws in place in Colorado to protect pedestrians include the following:
- Pedestrians have the right of way in a marked crosswalk and drivers must yield to pedestrians crossing in the crosswalk in their lane of traffic
- Drivers must yield the right of way to pedestrians at stop signs or flashing red lights, even if the lights are not working
- Drivers cannot attempt to go around another vehicle stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross a roadway regardless of whether or not it’s clear that the pedestrian had the right of way
- Drivers must adhere to all traffic signals including “Walk” and “Don’t Walk” signals governing the pedestrian right of way
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Colorado
Many pedestrian accidents happen in Colorado in the following predictable ways:
- Vehicles turning right on a red light and hitting a pedestrian approaching from the right because they were focused on oncoming traffic from the left
- Drivers making a left turn at an intersection and yielding to vehicular traffic while failing to understand that pedestrians also have the right of way
By stopping well before crosswalks, making eye contact with pedestrians so they know you see them, and always using your turn signals, you can minimize your risks of injuring a pedestrian when you’re driving.
Pedestrians can protect themselves by adhering to all pedestrian traffic laws, avoiding night walks, wearing light-colored clothing, and making eye contact with stopped or slowing drivers before crossing so you know they are aware of your presence.
Both drivers and pedestrians should always avoid cell phone distractions in traffic situations.