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Legally Reviewed by:

Jonathan Rosenfeld
J.D

October 5, 2023

Over $400 Million worth of case results

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Illinois law gives pedestrians certain rights to further their own safety. However, there are also rules that pedestrians must adhere to.

Who was breaking the law is a key consideration in any pedestrian accident case. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can help you better understand your liabilities as a pedestrian.

How Is a Pedestrian Defined With Regard to Traffic Laws?

Illinois law has a definition of a pedestrian that is uniformly throughout the Vehicle Code. In Section 625 ILCS 5/1-158, a pedestrian is defined as:

“Any person afoot or wearing in-line speed skates, including a person with a physical, hearing, or visual disability.”

In other words, any person who is walking is considered a pedestrian, and a pedestrian walking has all the rights and protections afforded to them under Illinois pedestrian laws.

Those operating a moving vehicle must follow traffic regulations that involve pedestrians. If not, they can face fines that begin at $50 plus court costs if a police officer catches them breaking the law

Pedestrians should use marked crosswalks whenever possible

Pedestrian Crossing Laws

Pedestrian safety is a two-way street. From a safety perspective, pedestrians should use marked crosswalks whenever possible. They should pay close attention and look both ways when crossing a street or an intersection.

Here are some of the obligations that pedestrians crossing streets must follow:

  • Between adjacent intersections at which traffic-control signals are in operation, pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a plainly marked crosswalk.
  • No pedestrian shall cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by official traffic-control devices.
  • Any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

The Definition of a Crosswalk Under the Illinois Vehicle Code

Under Illinois law, a crosswalk is defined as:

“That part of a roadway at an intersection included within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway measured from the curbs, and in the absence of a sidewalk on one side of the highway, that part of the highway included within the extension of the lateral line of the existing sidewalk to the side of the highway without the sidewalk”

There are four types of crosswalks:

  • A signalized crosswalk is one that is at stop signs or traffic control signals (such as a red light or flashing red signal)
  • An unsignalized crosswalk is one that is in the middle of the block and does not have a traffic light or a stop sign
  • A marked crosswalk is when there are painted lines on the road, and drivers and pedestrians walking should be able to see the crosswalk
  • An unmarked crosswalk does not have painted lines, but it is present when a sidewalk leads into an adjacent roadway

Pedestrian Crosswalk Laws at Unmarked Crosswalks

Things get even more difficult at unmarked crosswalks [1], usually found at intersections.

A sidewalk that leads into the street, for example, is considered an unmarked crosswalk. The driver has the obligation to yield the right of way to the pedestrian. This obligation applies when the pedestrian is on the driver’s side of the road, and there are not any traffic control signals.

Pedestrian Right of Way Laws

Things get even more difficult at unmarked crosswalks [1], usually found at intersections.

A sidewalk that leads into the street, for example, is considered an unmarked crosswalk. The driver has the obligation to yield the right of way to the pedestrian. This obligation applies when the pedestrian is on the driver’s side of the road, and there are not any traffic control signals.

Drivers only have to yield to a pedestrian who is on their side of the road

Pedestrian Right of Way Laws

One of the key obligations in the Illinois Vehicle Code is that pedestrians have the right of way when they are in a marked crosswalk. However, their right to enter a crosswalk is not unlimited.

Drivers only have to yield to a pedestrian who is on their side of the road. If the pedestrian is in the first half of the roadway, the driver does not have to yield.

There are other occasions [2] in which a driver must yield the right of way to a pedestrian:

  • On school days, when children are in close proximity to a school zone crosswalk
  • When a pedestrian enters a crosswalk before the traffic light changed
  • When a pedestrian is walking with a green light, to a walking person symbol or a walk signal
  • When a pedestrian is leaving or entering a street or highway from an alley, building, private road, or driveway
  • When a pedestrian is entering an intersection with a flashing yellow arrow

If the driver has failed to yield the right of way in a pedestrian accident, you would have the legal obligation to prove what they did. If there were witnesses, you may have an easier task. Further, if a police officer showed up at the scene and issued a citation to the driver, it may also make your case less of a heavy lift.

An attorney would investigate what happened and build the case that you need to show that someone else was responsible. Your lawyer may also work with an accident recreation expert, who would give their own opinion on the cause of the accident.

However, pedestrians can also be legally responsible for an accident if they were the ones breaking the law.

If you have filed a claim as an injured pedestrian, your actions would be under scrutiny. Pedestrian obedience to laws is one of the first things that the insurance company will look at when processing a claim.

If a pedestrian were partially to blame for the accident, the insurance company would try to reduce your own financial recovery. If a pedestrian is more than 50% to blame for what happened, you may not be able to receive anything at all.

Have You or a Loved One Been Hurt in a Pedestrian Accident?

The pedestrian accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can work to ensure that the responsible driver is held liable for their negligent actions. We can help injured pedestrians get their just compensation by proving what happened in the accident in accordance with pedestrian traffic laws.

You owe us nothing unless we are able to help you win your case. You will not be asked for a retainer, nor will you be sent any hourly bills for the duration of your case. Call us today at (888) 424-5757 or send us a message online to schedule a free consultation.

Resources: [1] Illinois General Assembly, [2] IDOT

Client Reviews

Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld.

- Michonne Proulx

Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own.

- Ethan Armstrong

Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan!

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This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you.

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Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial.

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