Personal injury attorney in Rancho Cucamonga handles pedestrian jaywalking accident lawsuit cases.

Rancho Cucamonga Pedestrian Safety: Understanding the Impact of California’s New Jaywalking Law

Pedestrian accidents in California have long been a concerning issue, with hundreds of fatalities and thousands of injuries occurring each year. As a response to this situation, California had enacted strict jaywalking laws to encourage pedestrians to cross at designated intersections and crosswalks, aiming to improve pedestrian safety. Enforcement of these laws has not always been without controversy, however.

For example, in 2017, a video of a police officer forcibly detaining a pedestrian for jaywalking in Sacramento went viral, highlighting the potential for abuse and discriminatory enforcement of these laws. In light of such issues, the state legislature has recently made significant changes to California’s jaywalking laws.

In an effort to address concerns about the impact of the previous laws on low-income individuals and minorities, as well as the allocation of law enforcement resources, the California Legislature passed AB-2147, also known as the “Freedom to Walk” bill. Signed into law on September 30, 2022, and effective from January 1, 2023, this new legislation aims to balance pedestrian safety with personal freedom by allowing people to cross the street anywhere it is safe, even outside of designated crosswalks and intersections.

As Californians adjust to the new jaywalking laws, it is crucial to understand their potential implications for pedestrian safety, the occurrence of pedestrian accidents, and the complexities surrounding legal claims resulting from such incidents.

New Jaywalking Law in California: A Fresh Approach

AB-2147 brought several notable changes to the way California approaches jaywalking. Most importantly, it allows pedestrians to cross streets wherever they deem it safe to do so, without facing the prospect of citations and fines. This applies to areas outside of designated crosswalks and intersections, as long as pedestrians exercise reasonable caution and avoid situations where an imminent danger of collision with a motor vehicle is present.

This reform was partly inspired by research revealing that African American individuals were 4.5 times more likely to receive jaywalking citations than their white counterparts. Such statistics fueled concerns that the previous laws were disproportionately affecting low-income communities and people of color. Furthermore, the high cost of jaywalking tickets created additional financial burdens for those struggling to make ends meet.

The “Freedom to Walk” bill also mandates that the California Highway Patrol collaborate with the University of California’s Institute of Transportation Studies to assess the impact of the new jaywalking laws on traffic safety. A comprehensive report detailing their findings is scheduled to be submitted to the legislature by January 1, 2028, which will help determine whether the changes brought about by AB-2147 have been effective in promoting a fairer and safer pedestrian environment.

Changes Under the New Jaywalking Law

One significant alteration to the previous law is the criteria police officers can use to cite pedestrians for jaywalking. Previously, law enforcement could issue citations to pedestrians who crossed the road anywhere other than at designated crosswalks and intersections. Under the new law, however, officers can only issue citations if a pedestrian crosses the street when there is an imminent danger of being struck by a vehicle.

The intention behind the previous jaywalking laws was to ensure the safety of pedestrians by encouraging them to use designated crossing areas. However, this often resulted in pedestrians having to travel considerable distances to reach legal crossing points, even when their desired destination was directly across the street. The new law permits pedestrians to cross at midblock locations, although they must still yield to oncoming traffic and ensure it is safe to do so before proceeding.

As a result of these changes, it is expected that the number of jaywalking citations issued by police will decrease. Nevertheless, the penalties for jaywalking when it is dangerous to do so remain the same, with offenders potentially facing fines and fees exceeding $200.

These changes aim to strike a balance between pedestrian safety and personal freedom, while also addressing concerns regarding the disproportionate targeting of low-income individuals and minorities by jaywalking laws. Pedestrians and motorists alike must adapt to the new rules and continue to prioritize safety on California’s streets.

How Might the New Jaywalking Law Impact Rancho Cucamonga Pedestrian Accident Cases?

The implementation of the new jaywalking law in California has the potential to significantly influence pedestrian accident cases in several ways. As people adapt to the relaxed restrictions on crossing streets, there may be an increase in pedestrian crashes in populated cities like Rancho Cucamonga. This is due to the fact that more pedestrians might feel comfortable crossing the road in non-designated areas, while drivers who are accustomed to the old laws may not be prepared to encounter pedestrians at these locations.

As we talked about earlier, pedestrians are still required to exercise caution and only cross when it is safe to do so. Similarly, drivers must remain focused on the road and be prepared for the possibility of encountering pedestrians crossing at unexpected locations. Unfortunately, lapses in attentiveness or judgment can still occur, potentially leading to more pedestrian injuries, fatalities, and legal claims.

Can Pedestrians Who Jaywalk Recover Compensation?

Pedestrians who jaywalk will not be cited in most cases under the new law, and they may still be able to pursue compensation if they are injured by a crash with a motor vehicle. California follows a system of pure comparative negligence, as outlined in Cal. Civ. Code § 1714 and the California Supreme Court’s decision in Li v. Yellow Cab Co., 532 P.2d 1226 (1975).

Under the doctrine of pure comparative negligence, every party involved in an accident is responsible for their degree of negligence. This means that even if an injured pedestrian is partially at fault for the accident, they are not barred from recovering damages. However, any awarded compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to the pedestrian.

For example, if a court determines that a jaywalking pedestrian was 60% at fault and the gross damages awarded total $100,000, the pedestrian’s compensation would be reduced by 60%, resulting in a net award of $40,000.

Given that the new law decriminalizes jaywalking, it becomes increasingly important for injury lawyers to conduct thorough investigations into these accidents to accurately determine liability. This may involve obtaining pedestrian accident witness testimony, reviewing traffic camera footage, visiting the accident scene, working with accident reconstruction experts, and seeking other forms of evidence to support the case.

Individuals who have been injured by motor vehicles while jaywalking should not hesitate to seek pedestrian accident legal help, even if they might share some fault for what happened. An experienced attorney can guide them through the complexities of the legal process, ensuring their rights are protected and helping them pursue maximum compensation.

Statute of Limitations for Rancho Cucamonga Pedestrian Accident Claims

It is crucial for victims of pedestrian crashes to be aware of the statute of limitations, which establishes a strict deadline for filing an injury lawsuit. In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date of the accident or event in most cases. Failing to file a claim within this time frame will usually result in the loss of the right to pursue compensation through the courts.

While two years may seem like ample time to consider filing a lawsuit, it is important to note that pedestrian accident cases often require thorough investigation and preparation. In addition, as time passes, crucial evidence may disappear, making it more challenging to prove your claim.

Contact Our Reputable Rancho Cucamonga Pedestrian Crash Attorneys

Navigating the aftermath of a pedestrian accident can be a daunting and complicated process, especially with the recent changes in California’s jaywalking laws. At The Muhareb Law Group, our team has extensive experience and a proven track record in successfully handling these types of cases.

Reach out to us today at (909) 519-5832 or message us online for a free consultation and case assessment. Let our seasoned attorneys guide you through the challenges and nuances of your pedestrian crash case with the utmost confidence and professionalism.