What Factors Make a Crosswalk Dangerous?

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident at a marked crosswalk, you may not only have a claim against the defendant-driver, but you may also have a substantial claim against the public or private entity responsible for designing, building, and maintaining the crosswalk. By bringing in more defendants, you improve your ability to obtain full compensation for your injuries, and further, you are empowered to directly attack each defendant for their specific fault contribution.

California law entitles you to recover damages as compensation for your various injuries, but to maximize your chance for success, it's important to speak with a qualified California pedestrian accident and premises liability attorney who has experience handling crosswalk accident cases against multiple defendants. Call the Law Office of Brian J. O'Grady at (650) 318-6131 for a free assessment of your claims.

When asserting a crosswalk premises liability claim against the entity responsible for the crosswalk and roadway, you'll have to show that the crosswalk was a dangerous condition of property and that it's characteristics (design, construction, maintenance) exposed you to an unreasonable risk of injury.

So, what factors contribute to the dangerousness of a marked crosswalk?

Inadequate Traffic Signals

Crosswalks may be negligently designed such that they fail to adequately protect pedestrians making their way through the crosswalk (from oncoming traffic). Crosswalks often fail to implement traffic signals (i.e., blinking lights, signage, etc.), and those that do may still present a serious risky of injury, as - if the signal is inadequate in giving a warning drivers - it may give pedestrians and drivers a false sense of security.

To make an injury claim on the basis that the crosswalk had inadequate traffic signals, you'll have to work with your attorney to retain traffic signaling experts who can bring research and other evidence to bear in favor of your claim.

Inadequate Lighting

Pedestrian and vehicular traffic around crosswalks at nighttime can easily lead to injury, particularly if there is inadequate road lighting and crosswalk lighting. Lighting issues may come to the fore in two different scenarios: 1) adequate lighting was never installed, or 2) adequate lighting was installed (that would have prevented the accident and injuries at-issue), but improper maintenance led to some or all of the lighting not working at the time of the accident.

Visibility Issues Due to Roadway

Roadway visibility issues are common, though they can be difficult to recognize upon first glance. For example, a roadway may be constructed at an upward angle that makes it difficult for traffic from one side of the crosswalk to see pedestrians that are walking across. Alternative, the roadway may feature a turn right before the crosswalk, which creates a blind spot for drivers approaching the crosswalk and thus elevates the risk of a pedestrian collision.

In many cases, the design of the roadway itself is negligent in conjunction with the crosswalk. If the crosswalk was designed and constructed after the roadway, then the party responsible for approving the design and construction of the crosswalk may be found liable (as they did not recognize the risk of danger posed to pedestrians in conjunction with the roadway design).

Prior Accident History

Prior accident history at the crosswalk is incredibly valuable when bringing an injury claim against the defendant, as it demonstrates that the defendant was (or should have been) put on notice of the risks of danger posed by pedestrian crossings at the crosswalk at-issue. The greater the number of prior accidents at the crosswalk - and the greater the similarity between those prior accidents and your current accident - the more likely it is that a California court will find that the defendant should have responded to the risk of danger appropriately and corrected the dangerous condition of the crosswalk.

Volume and Speed of Traffic

Crosswalks built on roadways with an extremely high volume of traffic (that is also traveling at high speed, on average) are inherently dangerous, simply due to the nature of the traffic passing through the crosswalk. Pedestrians cannot adequately protect themselves at a marked crosswalk when the traffic is so dense, and traveling at such a high speed, that a safe crossing is rendered impossible.

Unique Pedestrian Concerns

Crosswalks must take into account the type of pedestrians that will be using the crosswalk, and must be designed accordingly. For example, a crosswalk located next to a busy senior center must take into account that slow-moving seniors will be the primary use-case for the crosswalk. As such, traffic signals associated with the crosswalk must be especially cautious about warning incoming drivers of the presence of the crosswalk and pedestrians, so that the seniors have time enough to make a safe crossing.


To set up a free consultation with an experienced California pedestrian accident and premises liability attorney, call the Law Offices of Brian O' Grady at (650) 318-6131. Attorney Brian O' Grady values open and honest communication with clients, and will address any questions or concerns you may have.

We look forward to speaking with you.