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Florida’s Crosswalk Laws: Know Your Rights as a Pedestrian

November 7, 2023 Legal Team
person walking across crosswalk with caption: "Florida's. Crosswalk Laws"

Florida remains one of the country’s top three states for pedestrian accidents, with 824 pedestrian fatalities in 2022, only a slight decline from 2021. Florida’s bustling tourist industry, year-round sunshine, and high elderly population all contribute to startlingly high pedestrian accident rates. Most pedestrian accidents result from negligent or reckless drivers, but both pedestrians and drivers can protect themselves by fully understanding a pedestrian’s rights in Florida, especially in crosswalks where a significant percentage of pedestrian accidents occur.

Who Is a Pedestrian In Florida?

Florida considers pedestrians to be anyone traveling on the roadways and metro area sidewalks on foot, in a wheelchair, on skates, or on a skateboard. Bicyclists are not pedestrians because Florida law considers bicycles as vehicles and subject to motor vehicle laws.

Florida law regulates pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic with laws intended to protect vulnerable pedestrians.

Marked and Unmarked Crosswalks in Florida

Florida law defines marked crosswalks in the state as those with painted lines or otherwise marked parts of the roadway connecting the sidewalks on opposite sides of the road at an intersection or elsewhere. Most marked crosswalks in Florida have white-painted lateral lines, but some may have words or images such as an outline of a walking pedestrian.

Unmarked crosswalks in Florida only exist at intersections where a sidewalk ends at a curb and then continues on the other side of the roadway. The area between the ending of the sidewalk on one side and the beginning of the sidewalk on the other side is considered a crosswalk even if it’s unpainted or unmarked.

Pedestrian Crosswalk Laws in Florida

Florida has many important laws in place for pedestrian protection in crosswalks, including the following:

  • In Florida, all pedestrians must cross in a crosswalk where one is present.
  • According to Florida Law, motorists must stop for all pedestrians in a crosswalk when the signal allows them to cross
  • While pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks, the law still requires them to yield the right of way to vehicles already in the crosswalk and wait until traffic clears before stepping out to cross
  • In all crosswalks containing traffic signals, pedestrians may only cross when the signal allows them to do so
  • When pedestrians are lawfully crossing, motorists may not approach the pedestrians with their vehicles closely enough to pose a danger
  • In Florida crosswalks without traffic signals or crossing guards, motorists must yield the right of way to pedestrians in the crosswalk
  • If an overhead walkway or crossing tunnel exists in an intersection in Florida, pedestrians must use them to cross; therefore, they do not have the right of way in intersections with these safer crossing alternatives present

Where no marked crosswalks exist, pedestrians in Florida must use the shortest available route to cross. Typically, this requires crossing at right angles perpendicular to the road.

What Happens if a Pedestrian or Motorist Violates Florida Crosswalk Laws?

Florida law requires all drivers to “use due care and caution” at all times to avoid a collision with pedestrians, even if the pedestrian is in violation of crosswalk laws. In most cases, violating Florida’s crosswalk laws is a non-criminal traffic infraction that results in a citation and ticket. In particularly egregious instances, a driver could face reckless driving charges for endangering pedestrians in a crosswalk.

Protection for Pedestrians in Florida

For pedestrians involved in incidents where crosswalk laws may have been violated, Shapiro | Delgado | Hofmann stands as a stalwart defender of their rights. Even if a pedestrian is found in violation, our legal team ensures that the emphasis remains on the driver’s obligation to exercise due care. We work tirelessly to safeguard pedestrians’ interests and seek just outcomes in the face of any legal proceedings. The pedestrian accident lawyers at Shapiro | Delgado | Hofmann serve Sarasota and Bradenton. Reach out today online or call (941) 954-4000 to schedule your free no-obligation consultation.