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Colorado Jaywalking Laws

August 7, 2020

Walking the streets of Colorado can be dangerous for many reasons. One of the most common hazards is negligent drivers. Drivers often do not pay enough attention to the road, distracted by cellphones, food or passengers. This increases the chances of a driver failing to see a pedestrian and causing a life-threatening accident. Pedestrians, however, can contribute to collisions by engaging in dangerous practices such as jaywalking.

Pedestrian Sign

What is Jaywalking? Can a Pedestrian Jaywalk in Colorado?

Jaywalking refers to a pedestrian crossing in the middle of the road between two intersections. Although Colorado law does not specifically include the term jaywalking, it describes crossing the road at any place between two intersections with working traffic control signals – other than at a crosswalk – in Colorado Revised Statute 42-4-803 as a traffic offense. It is against the law in Colorado for a pedestrian to cross at any place other than crosswalks, marked intersections or unmarked intersections. Committing this offense is a class B infraction in Colorado. The typical sentence is a fine of $15 to $100, plus surcharges.

Other Pedestrian Laws in Colorado

It is a pedestrian’s responsibility to look out for his or her safety by actively working to avoid dangerous situations. This takes abiding by pedestrian laws. Anyone who plans on walking, jogging or running in Colorado must learn the state’s pedestrian laws before doing so. Otherwise, a tragic accident could arise from a broken pedestrian law. Pedestrians are highly vulnerable roadway users. Obeying pedestrian laws could save a life.

  • Marked intersection. At a marked intersection with working traffic control signals, pedestrians must yield the right-of-way, when applicable. They must follow the flashing traffic control signals that state Walk or Don’t Walk.
  • Unmarked intersection. When at an intersection with a stop sign or a four-way stop, pedestrians have the right-of-way. Drivers must stop and allow the pedestrian to cross. A pedestrian may not, however, step off the curb into oncoming traffic that is close enough to be hazardous.
  • Crosswalk. Pedestrians always have the right-of-way at marked crosswalks. All motorists must yield to pedestrians who are crossing in their half of the road at a crosswalk. If the pedestrian is using an overhead crossing or pedestrian tunnel, however, the pedestrian must yield to vehicles.

Although drivers and pedestrians alike should know and obey pedestrian laws, this is not always the case. Many drivers knowingly or negligently break the rules. They cut pedestrians off at crosswalks, run red lights and fail to yield the right-of-way when turning. These dangerous driver habits could cause deadly pedestrian collisions. Due to the frequency of broken traffic laws, pedestrians should always look both ways before crossing even when they have the right-of-way.

The Dangers of Jaywalking

Crossing the street at a place other than an intersection or crosswalk is dangerous due to the unexpected nature of the act. Drivers will not be anticipating or looking out for pedestrians at points in the road between two controlled intersections. This could increase the odds of a driver failing to see a crossing pedestrian and failing to stop in time to prevent an accident. At intersections and crosswalks, on the other hand, road signs warn drivers to slow down, stop and/or yield to pedestrians.

If a pedestrian was unlawfully jaywalking at the time of his or her accident, the courts may reduce his or her compensatory award or bar the plaintiff from recovery entirely. Colorado uses a modified comparative negligence law, which states that a plaintiff’s portion of fault for a pedestrian accident will diminish his or her recovery by a matching percentage. If the pedestrian was 50% or more at fault, he or she will not recover any damages from the driver. Pedestrian accident cases can be complex and difficult to navigate for the injured party. A Denver pedestrian accident lawyer is often necessary to help an injured plaintiff recover fair compensation.