Pedestrian Rules of the Road in Alabama

Most drivers know the laws about getting behind the wheel of a car. We tend to be less familiar with the rules of the road for pedestrians.

Alabama Laws and Pedestrians

Pedestrians have the right to assume that cars on the road will obey traffic laws. Nevertheless, pedestrians should always keep a lookout when walking on or around roadways and be aware of the traffic that is nearby.

Alabama Pedestrian Laws to Know: Alabama Code § 32-5A-1 through § 32-5A-330

What the laws cover: These rules mostly concern the operation of a vehicle. They also contain provisions about proper pedestrian use of roads and guidelines for crossing the street.

Pedestrians and Traffic Signals

Alabama Law on Pedestrians and Traffic Signals: Alabama Code § 32-5A-32 and §32-5A-210.

Pedestrians should follow the traffic signals (like traffic lights, stop signs, etc) intended for cars unless there is a specific pedestrian control sign like the walk/don’t walk signals.

What happens when streets have walk/don’t walk signals:

  • Pedestrians should obey the crossing signals.
  • Pedestrians have the right of way.
  • Cars must yield to the pedestrian. 

Crossing the Street with No Traffic Signals

There are not always traffic signals to guide people about proper crossing times. In these situations, there are additional guidelines to help you know how to safely cross the street.

When traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation, drivers must yield the right of way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk.

How Not to Cross the Street

There are very specific rules about how pedestrians should cross the street, including specifics on what not to do.

It is against the law for pedestrians to:

  • cross an intersection diagonally
  • cross the road in the middle of the block

These situations are commonly referred to as “jaywalking.”

Alabama Law on Pedestrians and Jaywalking: Alabama Code § 32-5A-212

Where Pedestrians Should Walk

In most situations, pedestrians should avoid walking on the road, and drivers of motor vehicles must yield to any pedestrians on a sidewalk.

More specifically, the laws give guidance on where you can and can’t walk.

  • Where sidewalks are provided, you must walk on the sidewalks and not on the road or the side of the roadway
  • When a sidewalk is not available AND the road has a shoulder, pedestrians should walk on the shoulder as far away from traffic as possible
  • When there are no sidewalks or shoulders available, pedestrians should walk as close to the outside edge of the roadway as possible on the left side of the roadway facing oncoming traffic. 

Alabama Law on Approved Pedestrian Walkways: Alabama Code § 32-5A-215 and Alabama Code § 32-5A-218

Pedestrians and Alcohol

It is against the law for a pedestrian under the influence of alcohol or drugs to walk on a roadway. 

Alabama Law on Pedestrians and Alcohol: Alabama Code § 32-5A-221.

What to Do if You Experience a Pedestrian injury

A pedestrian injury can often be severe, and the facts must be carefully investigated so that responsibility can be determined. 

Many times, drivers and insurance companies blame pedestrians for causing an incident. It is critically important to complete a thorough investigation of the scene as soon as possible.

Some things to do if you experience a pedestrian injury:

  • take pictures
  • talk with witnesses
  • determine if there is a video of the incident available from security cameras or other surveillance devices

Contact a personal injury lawyer who can help you determine who is responsible for your injuries and whether you will likely be successful in presenting a legal claim.