Now that spring is finally here and the weather is starting to get warmer, tourists are starting to flood the streets and Chicagoans are ditching their Ventra cards and opting to walk everywhere. Therefore, it is important that we ensure our streets are safe and that pedestrians know their rights and duties.
Thousands of pedestrians are injured every year in pedestrian-related traffic accidents. As highlighted in the Illinois Crash Facts Statistics, in 2012, there were a total of 4,930 pedestrian crashes in the greater Illinois area, in which 139 involved fatalities and 4,665 involved injuries.
Due to the high density of pedestrians and vehicles downtown, it’s no surprise so many of these accidents happen there. The 2012 study revealed that most crashes occurred in the Central Business District of Chicago – comprised mostly of the Near North Side and Loop Chicago area. That is due to the fact that there is a large concentration of commuters, trourists, business travelers and residents in the area and that the Chicago Business District has shorter block lengths than most other areas of the city. The report listed the top five hot spots for pedestrian crashes:
- Michigan Ave. between Chicago Ave & Oak Street
- Dearborn St. between Ohio St. & Huron St.
- Columbus/Fairbanks between Water St. & Ontario St.
- Canal St. between Jackson & Washington St.
- Jackson St. between Clark St. & Wabash Ave.
The report also indicated that a vast majority of the pedestrian-related accidents were caused by drivers not yielding; drivers turning (turning left, versus right, accounted for double the turning accidents) and hit and runs. Furthermore, the report revealed that 78% of all pedestrian crashes occurred at an intersection and that pedestrians were most often crossing with a signal when struck.
So what rights and duties do pedestrians have in Illinois?
Illinois law provides pedestrians with the right-of-way at all crosswalks. This means that drivers of a car or truck must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within a crosswalk. That being said, Illinois law provides that no pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb and walk or run into the path of a moving vehicle and that every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicles on the roadway. However, that does not mean that drivers can just ignore pedestrians on the roadway. Drivers must still be careful to avoid colliding with a pedestrian under all circumstances.
Illinois law further provides that pedestrians crossing at an intersection with an unmarked crosswalk have the same rights as those pedestrians at intersections with marked crosswalks. Pedestrians also have the right-of-way over vehicles that are stopped at intersections controlled by stop signs or flashing red signals and that have a crosswalk.
Additionally, Illinois law affords that every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicles upon the roadway; and that every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon the roadway. Drivers are also required to give warning by sounding the horn when necessary and must exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any incapacitated person upon a roadway.
If you suffered a pedestrian-related accident, you may have legal rights to recover for your injuries. The experienced attorneys at Stein & Shulman, LLC represents pedestrians in all types of personal injury matters. Call us today to discuss your legal options.
For additional resources click here.