Pedestrian Accidents in Colorado

yellow pedestrian crossing sign

Pedestrian accidents account for about 70,000 injuries nationally and 5,000 deaths. 92 of these deaths occured in Colorado in 2021. Sadly, the majority of such accidents affect our most vulnerable population: senior citizens and children. Laws in Colorado exist to protect pedestrians from moving vehicles. Knowing these laws can help you and your loved ones stay safe when crossing the street. 

When Do Pedestrian Accidents Occur?

There may be no justifiable reason for hitting someone when they are crossing the street, but there are a few scenarios when it is more likely to happen:

Turning right on a red light

Many pedestrians are struck by vehicles focused on oncoming traffic and not on any pedestrians waiting to cross. This is especially true when they are allowed to turn right on a red light. 

Turning Left on a Flashing Yellow Light

In these situations, a vehicle is expected to yield to both oncoming traffic and pedestrians. Many drivers may be focused on timing their turn with regards to cars, completely ignoring the presence of any pedestrians. 

Running a Red Light 

Speeding through an intersection to try to beat a red light can result in tragedy, especially if an unassuming pedestrian sees a “walk” indication and has begun crossing. 

Pedestrian Laws in Colorado

The main rules pertaining to pedestrians in Colorado and other states have to do with right of way. In other words, when is a walker given priority over a moving vehicle when crossing the street? There are a few situations when the pedestrian always has the right of way:

  • There is a solid “Walk” indication at a crosswalk (no flashing)
  • The pedestrian is already crossing when the “Walk” sign begins to flash
  • There are no dedicated traffic signs* and a pedestrian has already entered a crosswalk. 

*In the event that a vehicle has yielded to a pedestrian in a crossing with no traffic signals, no other vehicle is permitted to go around that stopped vehicle. 

Related: Bicycle Laws to Know in Colorado

In other cases, the pedestrian must be aware that vehicles will have the right of way and they will need to wait for a legal indication to cross. Pedestrians may not cross the street when:

  • The indicator says “do not walk”
  • The “walk” sign is flashing (about to turn to “do not walk”)
  • There are no traffic indicators and a vehicle is already moving across the crosswalk
  • In areas where there is no designated crosswalk (jay walking) 

Additional Safety Tips for Pedestrians Crossing the Street

In addition to abiding by traffic laws, there are other steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from injury when walking:

  • Be mindful of traffic, even when you have the right of way. Look left and right for oncoming vehicles that may not be paying attention.
  • Avoid texting or scrolling on your phone until you are safely across.
  • If you are at a crosswalk where vehicles are allowed to turn right on a red light, check for any cars with their blinkers on. Make sure they see you by making eye contact or waving before you begin to cross. 
  • Wear light-colored or reflective clothing at night so you can easily be seen by drivers.

What Should You Do If You Were Hit as a Pedestrian?

If you or a loved one is struck by a vehicle while crossing the street, the first priority should be safety. If you are conscious and can move, get out of oncoming traffic. Once you are in a safe location, contact medical assistance and the police. 

In the event of injury or death at the hands of a motor vehicle, a pedestrian always has the right to legal action. Under Colorado’s comparative negligence laws, this is true even if the pedestrian was found partially responsible for the accident. If you or a loved one was seriously injured or lost their life in a pedestrian accident, contact an attorney who can help you file for economic and emotional damages.

In Colorado, David Roth has helped hundreds of clients seek justice for personal injury and wrongful death. Pedestrian accidents can lead to devastating consequences, and those responsible need to be held accountable. Contact our office or go online to schedule a free consultation today.