If you drive on Florida Avenue any time of the day or night, you are placing both your life and insurance coverage into the hands of pedestrians who wouldn’t know a crosswalk from outer space. Drive east or west on Florida Avenue and up to half a dozen or more pedestrians will walk across the street in front of you not looking either way for approaching vehicles.
Certain vehicle laws apply specifically to pedestrians, i.e.,
Section 219954: PEDESTRIANS OUTSIDE CROSSWALKS:
(a) Every pedestrian upon 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 all vehicles upon the roadway so near as to constitute an immediate hazard.
Section 21955 CROSSING BETWEEN CONTROLLED INTERSECTIONS
Between adjacent intersections controlled by traffic control signal devices or by police officers, pedestrians shall not cross the roadway at any place except in a crosswalk.
Section 21956 PEDESTRIAN ON ROADWAY
(a) No pedestrian may walk upon any roadway outside of a business or residence district otherwise than close to his or her left-hand edge of the road.
It goes without saying that the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way to any pedestrian approaching thereon. Drivers do not ordinarily aim to run a pedestrian down, but all too often a pedestrian will challenge a 3500-pound piece of metal and become an accident victim despite all the rules.
Why do pedestrians do that, you ask?
Because a jaywalker adapts him or herself to the habit or is in a hurry or simply expects some angel from above will stop an oncoming vehicle from seriously harming or even killing them.
Then there is another reason. A new game has been developed on Florida Avenue, especially around Weston Park on the near east side of town. Some idiot will jump off the sidewalk at a vehicle slowing passing in the curb lane and hope to do an easy bounce off, go to the E.R. and then call the first ambulance chaser lawyer in hopes of ripping off your insurance company. This is a dangerous game but it quite popular in Hemet.
You say, there was a witness who said it wasn’t my fault. That should exonerate you of blame. Good luck with that one. If you ever so much as had a simple ticket for jumping the yellow light it will be held against you by the so-called victim’s lawyer in a courtroom.
I questioned an insurance agent in the home office of a major personal insurance carrier and was told, “The suits in the executive offices don’t trust juries in personal injury cases when it comes to being hit by a car or truck. They will pay off because a jury might feel sympathy for the plaintiff and bring back a million-dollar verdict because the so-called victim seemed believable. Indurate companies don’t like to take chances.
So, the next time you see someone standing in the middle of a street gazing ever so longingly at the other side, that person may be playing the game, or perhaps it is someone not even thinking of profiteering at your expense. No sir. They may just be giving themselves the right of way with rolling traffic be damned. So be forewarned.
When in doubt, slow down and wait for them to make up their mind. Just sayin’.