Can a pedestrian in a cross-walk be at fault when hit?

  • Yes, but only in unusual circumstances such as when making gestures that could mislead the motorist into thinking they may proceed.
  • Generally, once a pedestrian has safely entered the crosswalk he may assume the motorist will yield the right-of-way.
  • To cast blame on the pedestrian in a crosswalk the motorist must prove the pedestrian should have realized the motorist was not going to stop and that the pedestrian could have done something to avoid being hit.

In Farand v. Seidel the pedestrian entered the crosswalk and crossed three of four lanes.  She was hit by a slow moving truck driven by an elderly driver who had not seen her.  The motorist argued that the pedestrian was at fault because she left a place of safety, a small flower bed in the middle of the road.

The judge rejected this argument and referred to the three principles set out above.  The pedestrian did not know nor could she reasonably know that the driver of the slow moving red pickup truck would not stop.  There was nothing she did or failed to do that contributed to the accident in any way.

The judge in Suedat v. Kara also considered this issue. The judge said that pedestrians in crosswalks are not required to exercise extreme vigilance to ensure they are not hit. To place blame on the pedestrian the driver must prove more than inattention. Similarly, wearing dark clothes or using a dark umbrella is not proof that the pedestrian is at fault.

In Mathroo v. Edge-Partington the pedestrian was hit when he was a few steps into the cross-walk. The driver had been stopped at the intersection, then turned right without looking forward. The judge found the driver 100% at fault. There was nothing to suggest to a reasonable pedestrian that the driver would move forward without looking. While the very safest course of pedestrians would be to interact defensively with all drivers by making eye contact, failing to do so is not a failure to act reasonably to preserve their own safety.

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Read the cases:  Farand v. Seidel, Suedat v. Kara, Mathroo v. Edge-Partington