Los Angeles Joggers and Runners Injury Attorneys
Since the start of the pandemic, an increasing number of Californians have been hitting the streets to go jogging or running. Many people have had to adjust their workout routines because of safety concerns due to COVID-19. Other runners and joggers have enjoyed running outdoors long before the pandemic and view it as an opportunity to exercise, socialize, and improve their health. However, runners and joggers who exercise outdoors need to be careful when jogging or running around traffic. They must know and follow the important traffic laws that apply to pedestrians to help to reduce their risks of serious injuries in pedestrian accidents. Some of the most important laws for pedestrians in California are described below.Are Joggers Required to Stay on Sidewalks?
Under Cal. Veh. Code § 21956, pedestrians who are outside of a residential or business district are not supposed to walk on the roads. However, they are allowed to walk on the roads outside of business or residential areas as long as they stay on the far left-hand side or along the right-hand side in an area where there is no crosswalk or when other conditions make it unsafe to otherwise cross the road. The state does not expressly prohibit runners from running on the streets. However, if there is a sidewalk available, it is a much better idea to use it to jog instead of running on the street.Responsibilities of Pedestrians
Cal. Veh. Code § 21950 lists several responsibilities and duties of pedestrians in Los Angeles, including runners and joggers. Under this law, motorists must yield to any pedestrian who is crossing the street within a crosswalk or at an intersection without a crosswalk. However, pedestrians still have a duty to act in a manner that protects their safety. Pedestrians, joggers, and runners are not supposed to suddenly dart out in front of an oncoming vehicle or move so slowly within a crosswalk that traffic is unreasonably delayed. What this means is that you should check for oncoming traffic before crossing the street and wait if a vehicle is so close that running in front of it would cause immediate danger. If there is a crossing signal, wait for it to turn before you cross.Other Motorists Prohibited from Passing When Vehicles Stopped for Pedestrians
Under Cal. Veh. Code § 21951, other motorists cannot pass vehicles that are stopped at crosswalks to allow pedestrians to cross. This law is meant to protect the safety of pedestrians who are lawfully crossing the street within marked or unmarked crosswalks at intersections.Pedestrians Have the Right-of-Way on Sidewalks
Under Cal. Veh. Code § 21952, pedestrians have the right-of-way on sidewalks. This law applies to motorists when they drive over or on sidewalks. If a pedestrian is present on the sidewalk, the motorist must yield to him or her before driving on or over the sidewalk. For example, this law might apply when you are jogging on a sidewalk when a motorist backs out of his or her driveway. The driver must wait to allow you to safely cross on the sidewalk before proceeding.Pedestrian Tunnels and Overhead Paths
Under Cal. Veh. Code § 21953, pedestrians crossing the roads at areas where there are pedestrian tunnels or overhead pedestrian paths must yield to all vehicle traffic. However, if there is also a crosswalk available, motorists must yield to pedestrians crossing within it.Pedestrians Outside of Crosswalks
Under Cal. Veh. Code § 21954, pedestrians who are outside of crosswalks or who are within unmarked crosswalks at intersections must yield the right-of-way to all motor vehicles that are close enough that crossing in front of them would create a danger of an injury accident. This means that you should not attempt to cross the road when vehicles are close. Also, under Cal. Veh. Code § 21955, runners, joggers, and walkers are prohibited from crossing the street midblock. Instead, pedestrians are only allowed to cross the road at intersections with marked or unmarked crosswalks.Jogging on Freeways/Expressways
Under Cal. Veh. Code § 21960, the California Department of Transportation and local authorities have the right to prohibit pedestrians from walking or jogging on expressways and freeways. You should instead choose routes that do not include these types of roads.Jogging on Bicycle Lanes
Under Cal. Veh. Code § 21966, pedestrians are prohibited from using bicycle lanes when there are adequate pedestrian paths nearby. For example, instead of jogging in a marked bicycle lane alongside a street, you should instead jog on the sidewalk if one is available to you.Vehicles not to Block Sidewalks or Crosswalks
Under Cal. Veh. Code § 21970, motorists are prohibited from stopping their vehicles in a crosswalk or on a sidewalk in a way that blocks pedestrians. However, motorists who are traveling on a one-way street are allowed to cross the crosswalk to turn left on red onto another one-way street. Motorists are also allowed to turn right on red on other streets other than where doing so is prohibited. However, drivers who are turning right on red must yield to pedestrians who are crossing within crosswalks.Other Tips for Remaining Safe
There are a number of other things that experienced injury lawyers recommend runners and joggers to do to decrease their chances of being involved in an accident. Motorists sometimes do not notice runners because they do not expect to see them. To make yourself more visible, always wear bright clothing when you go for a jog. If it is still dark outside, you should wear reflective tape or clothing and consider carrying a flashlight to make yourself more visible.
You should also always run facing traffic even if you dislike having headlights in your eyes. Facing traffic allows you to see what oncoming traffic is doing and spot people who might be preparing to enter or exit driveways and entryways ahead of you.
Avoid using headphones while you jog. While most people enjoy listening to music while they run, doing so can be distracting and can also keep you from remaining aware of your surroundings. This could cause you to step in front of a car without noticing or to trip and fall over objects in your path.
Try to run with a friend or in a group whenever possible. Running in pairs or in a group helps to keep you much more visible to motorists. You are also less likely to be assaulted when you are not alone.
Take your phone and ID with you whenever you head out for a run. This can help you call for help if you are involved in an accident. You should also tell a friend or family member about your route and when you expect to return so that they can look for you if something goes wrong.
Finally, even if you have the right-of-way, respect vehicle traffic. Being in the right is little consolation if you are injured in an accident. If a vehicle violates your right-of-way, let it pass before proceeding.Get Help from an Experienced Injury Attorney
If you have been seriously injured in an accident as a runner or jogger that was caused by a motorist, you should speak to the experienced attorneys at the Steven M. Sweat, Personal Injury Lawyers, APC. Our lawyers can carefully analyze what happened in your case to determine whether or not you have a valid claim. Our consultations are free and confidential. Call today to learn more at 866-966-5240.