Am I Safe Walking the Streets of DC?

By Peter DePaolis

Washington, D.C. is notorious for its busy streets, which can create hazardous conditions for those on foot. However, if you are alert and cautious as a pedestrian, you can help reduce your chances of being injured or killed in a pedestrian accident.

pedestrian traffic signalTo ensure that you avoid any potential accidents, it is important that you exercise caution at all times, even when crossing the street at a marked crosswalk. According to Street Smart, a program meant to “build safer streets and sidewalks, enforce laws, and train better drivers, cyclists and pedestrians,” those on foot should always:

  • Cross the street at marked crosswalks and intersections
  • Before crossing, look left, right, then left again
  • Use pedestrian pushbuttons
  • Begin crossing the street on the “Walk” signal
  • Stay visible after dark and in bad weather
  • Watch out for trucks and buses backing out of parking spaces and driveways

DC law states that “a driver of any vehicle shall STOP and give right-of-way to a pedestrian who has begun crossing on the “Walk” signal to continue to the opposite sidewalk or safety island, whichever is nearest.” (50-2201.28(b))

However, as a pedestrian, people are expected to take basic responsibility for their actions under contributory negligence, which means if you are at fault in a pedestrian accident, you will not be able to receive compensation for your injuries. For example, if you are texting while walking and you walk into oncoming traffic and are seriously injured, you share the blame with the driver who injured you. In DC, if you share the blame, then you recover nothing.

Hit by a Car as a Pedestrian? Let Our Injury Attorneys Help!

If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident and feel that you are entitled to damages after reading this blog, our attorneys are available to help if you need assistance in obtaining the compensation you are owed for your accident.

Koonz’s Did You Know: Washington, D.C. and Maryland both had pedestrian fatality rates in excess of 2.0, which is higher than the national average of 1.35 (per 100,000 people).

Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P.

Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia Injury Attorneys


About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.