In urban environments walking is a common mode of commuting and transportation, and the need to consider pedestrians is critical to foster a smooth running flow of transportation. Pedestrians are the most vulnerable parties on the streets.

Pedestrians need to view themselves as participants in the transportation process. Municipalities have laws regarding the behavior of pedestrians on the roadways. It is important to know the local laws. In Illinois, pedestrians can get their information from the Illinois Vehicle Code and the Chicago Department of Transportation. There are many basic rules to consider:

  1. Pedestrians must walk on the sidewalk. They must yield to all other forms of transportation by properly obeying traffic signals. Pedestrians should not walk on the road unless there is no sidewalk or shoulder. They should walk facing traffic and walk as far away from the traffic as possible.
  2. Pedestrians should yield to all traffic signals when crossing at a crosswalk. They must yield to all traffic when not at a crosswalk. Pedestrian bridges and tunnels should be used to cross over roads whenever available.
  3. Generally pedestrians cannot hitchhike or solicit on the road.
  4. Pedestrians need to travel as though they are not seen. Do not dart out into traffic and even at a crosswalk it is good practice to make eye contact with the driver before crossing in front.

Vehicles, bicycles, and other forms of transportation also have a responsibility when encountering pedestrians. First, they need to always be aware and looking for pedestrians. They need to observe all traffic signals and the speed limit, especially in pedestrian heavy areas like parks, schools, neighborhoods, and shopping districts. Drivers also need to take care not to park on sidewalks or in places that block pedestrian access across the road. Drivers need to be aware that it is illegal to fail to fully come to a complete stop at a stop sign. It is legal to call 911 to report any vehicle that fails to do so.

The city of Chicago is highlighting their crosswalk initiative to create more awareness for pedestrians. In Chicago, many crosswalks are not accompanied with any other traffic signals. This is to ensure pedestrians have more legal opportunities to cross the road. When a pedestrian is in these types of crosswalks, vehicles should yield. Drivers failing to observe the pedestrians in the crosswalks may face a citation. It is imperative that drivers slow down. This cannot be said enough. Going from twenty to forty miles per hour increases the fatality rate of pedestrians by eight times. Cars and trucks are especially likely to cause fatalities to pedestrians. Fatalities with bicycles are rare but not unheard of.

Pedestrians injured should seek medical help immediately. The police should be called to document the incident. Seek the advice of an attorney to get the maximum compensation for any injuries.


This article is for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Do not rely on the above information as all cases are different and different laws apply to different cases.

Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance. If you were injured as a pedestrian please call one of our attorneys at David K. Kremin & Associates, and we will give you a free consultation. We never charge unless we collect for you. Please call 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800)275-2529.