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March 25, 2013

Pedestrians Have the Right of Way

On the road, a pedestrian always has the right of way. Once they have entered a crosswalk, even if it’s against a light, they have the right of way to finish crossing. In Farand v. Seidel, the plaintiff Ms. Farand was struck in a marked crosswalk and suffered extensive injuries.

Mr. Seidel was issued a ticket for failing to yield to a pedestrian. He claimed he didn’t see the plaintiff despite being almost halfway across the intersection when she was struck. The crosswalk was well marked and the plaintiff was clearly visible. She did not hesitate once in the crosswalk which could have potentially confused the driver into thinking she would wait for him.

The defendant argued that the injured plaintiff was equally at fault for the accident. But B.C.’s Motor Vehicle Act states “the driver of a vehicle must yield the right of way to a pedestrian where traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation when the pedestrian is crossing the highway in a crosswalk and the pedestrian is on the half of the highway on which the vehicle is travelling.”

The Judge found the defendant wholly liable for the accident and the injuries the plaintiff received. This is an important reminder for all drivers that once a pedestrian has entered a cross walk you must stop for them.

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