Did you know… jaywalking is never referenced in any of Florida’s laws. It’s true; however, there are laws on the books outlining who has the right of way for our traffic laws when pedestrians are involved.
First and foremost it is important to understand all the technical parts of a public street. Every public street has sidewalks, technically. This means even with the lack of having a cement slab next to a roadway, the law has defined any portion of a street between the curbline of a roadway and the adjacent property line is intended for use by pedestrians, AKA, a sidewalk. This legal definition of a sidewalk goes hand and hand with the definition of a crosswalk. A crosswalk is the continuation of the parallel sidewalk across the roadway.
The reason it is important to know the legal definitions of sidewalk and crosswalk is there is a misconception about crosswalks and who is has the right of way. Many believe that under any circumstance pedestrians will always have the right of way. This is simply untrue. Nobody, including pedestrians, will always have the right of way. Conversely, even if the intersection does not have crosswalk paint, there are still crosswalks at the intersection under the legal definition. Due to this vehicles must give the right of way to pedestrians in the crosswalk. More importantly, this is true even if there is no stop sign or traffic signal. Pedestrians can cross a roadway outside the crosswalk and many times it will be perfectly legal, so long as the pedestrians yield the right of way to vehicles. The only time it is illegal to perform a mid-block cross is when both intersections have working traffic signals.
Stay safe on the roads especially here in Florida. We want to dethrone ourselves from taking the top four spots for the most dangerous places to walk as found by Transportation for America. With a little knowledge we can be keep our streets safe.