Jaywalking: illegal or legal in Pennsylvania?

Most refer to jaywalking as illegally crossing a street. The state of Pennsylvania doesn’t officially use the term ‘jaywalking,’ but does enforce pedestrian safety laws that cover illegally crossing a street and more. Violations could result in citations.

Types of Pedestrian Violations: Traffic Signals

According to state law, pedestrians must obey all traffic control signals. If the signals are located on a highway, it is illegal to cross the roadway against a stop signal. However, if the pedestrian starts to cross with a ‘go’ signal, all vehicles must yield the right-of-way until the pedestrian reaches the opposite side.

Types of Pedestrian Violations: Crosswalks

Another violation is when a pedestrian crosses a roadway at an intersection anywhere other than the crosswalk. Whenever a marked or unmarked crosswalk is available, the pedestrian must use it. Also, if crossing a roadway that isn’t controlled by traffic signals and there isn’t a crosswalk, the pedestrian shall cross at a right angle to the roadway: pedestrians may not cross the intersection diagonally.

Types of Pedestrian Violations: Right-of-Way

Pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to vehicles if crossing the street outside of a crosswalk as well as where there is an available overhead pedestrian crossing or tunnel. It is also illegal for a pedestrian to suddenly leave the curb or any other point of safety and enter the path of a vehicle where it would be impossible for the driver to yield.

How Pedestrian Laws Affect Fault in an Accident

Pedestrian accidents that involve vehicles are not always the driver’s fault. One of the first things that has to be determined is which party acted negligently. If the pedestrian violated traffic laws—such as crossing the road against a signal—that person could be found entirely at fault.

However, if the pedestrian crossed illegally but the motorist had been speeding, both parties could be responsible. In this case, a degree of fault would be assigned to the pedestrian and the driver.

If the pedestrian is 50 percent at fault or less, then he or she may recover compensation, minus a percentage of damages proportional to his or her own fault. For another example, if another pedestrian was found to be 20 percent at fault and he or she suffered $10,000 in damages, the pedestrian would only recover $8,000. Any fault greater than 50 percent would prevent the pedestrian from recovering damages.

Get a Lawyer’s Help Proving Fault and Collecting Damages

Establishing fault and liability comes down to evidence, which may include:

  • eyewitness testimony;
  • photographs;
  • surveillance video; and
  • even traffic citations.


So if you were seriously injured, consult an attorney for help. An attorney will investigate the accident to learn which party’s actions were careless or reckless. The lawyer will also aid in evidence collection and organize the case to present it to the insurance company, a judge, or a jury, depending on the circumstances. The attorney will also help you establish the amount of damages you suffered as a result of the accident.

Get help from Cordisco & Saile LLC. Set up your consultation by calling 215-642-2335.