Right Turn on Red: Motorist vs Pedestrian

Many South Florida intersections permit motorists to turn right on red. This is one reason that South Florida pedestrians know it is necessary to be careful when crossing an intersection, even when the pedestrian has a walk signal and thus the right of way. Many Florida drivers may simply ignore the requirement under Florida law that, even if the intersection in question permits motorists to turn right on red, that they come to a full and complete stop before the crosswalk prior to completing a turn. Instead, many drivers simply blow through the intersection without even checking to see if pedestrians are present. The consequences of a motorist’s negligence in such a case can be catastrophic and it is the pedestrian, who is attempting to cross the intersection, who will bear the brunt of the motorist’s carelessness. Therefore, taking care when crossing any intersection is a must for Florida pedestrians, particularly if the intersection permits right turns on red.

Turning Right on Red under Florida Law

A red right arrow at an intersection for a motorist means that the motorist must come to a full and complete stop at the marked stop line before moving into the crosswalk or intersection. After coming to a full and complete stop, a motorist may turn right on the red arrow at most intersections, if the way is clear and there are no pedestrians present. If there are pedestrians present, the motorist must allow them to safely cross the intersection before proceeding to make a turn. Finally, some intersections may have a “No turn on red” sign, which the motorist must obey regardless of whether the coast is clear or not. This sign means that no turns on red are permitted, period, regardless of whether pedestrians are present or not. 

Pedestrians’ Role in Ensuring Their Own Safety

Pedestrians also do have a role under Florida law in ensuring their own safety. Like any personal injury case, the person who is being sued, in this case the motorist that hit the pedestrian, can also claim that the plaintiff, the pedestrian in this case, was also partially at fault in causing the accident. A motorist that turns right against the light can potentially argue that the pedestrian him or herself would bear some responsibility in such an accident occurring in a variety of different ways, such as by not looking before crossing the street or by darting into the intersection from a place where the motorist would not be able to see the pedestrian. However, this misses the point: the motorist was required to ensure the coast is clear before proceeding into the intersection. Therefore, there is precious little that a motorist is likely to argue in the way of comparative negligence on the part of a pedestrian that is likely to either pass the laugh test or, perhaps more importantly, engender any sympathy given he or she was responsible for coming to a complete stop before making a turn.

Contact Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A.

At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A., our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 150 years of combined legal practice representing victims of motor vehicle or pedestrian accidents, slip and fall incidents and other personal injury scenarios in Florida. We have represented pedestrians injured when a careless driver fails to follow Florida law and stop at a crosswalk before proceeding into the intersection where a right turn on red is permitted. If you, a family member, or a loved one have been injured in a pedestrian or other type of motor vehicle accident, slip and fall incident or any other situation caused by someone else’s negligence in Florida, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A today at 877-694-6079 or contact@schwedlawfirm.com for a free consultation.