California Vehicle Code 21954 CVC requires pedestrians outside of marked or unmarked crosswalks to yield right-of-way to close oncoming vehicles. But drivers still must exercise due care and avoid hitting pedestrians who cross the street despite there being close oncoming traffic.
The full text of the statute reads as follows:
21954. (a) Every pedestrian upon a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway so near as to constitute an immediate hazard. An immediate hazard exists if the approaching vehicle is so near or is approaching so fast that a reasonably careful person would realize that there is a danger of collision.
(b) The provisions of this section shall not relieve the driver of a vehicle from the duty to exercise due care for the safety of any pedestrian upon a roadway.
(c) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2029, and as of that date is repealed.
California traffic laws grant right-of-way to vehicles outside of marked or unmarked crosswalks. Therefore, pedestrians must yield to close, oncoming vehicles whenever they are not in a marked or unmarked crosswalk. However, drivers with right-of-way should still yield to pedestrians if that is the only way to avoid a collision.1
Pedestrians in California who cross certain streets outside of a crosswalk risk getting ticketed for jaywalking (VC 21955). This is an infraction carrying a base fine of $196, plus administrative fees and assessments. Jaywalking will not cause any points to go on the pedestrian’s DMV driving record.2
Meanwhile, drivers who fail to yield to a pedestrian (VC 21950) also face an infraction. The fine is typically $286. And one point will be assessed to the driver’s DMV record.3
- California Vehicle Code 21954 VC – Pedestrians Outside Crosswalks. In re H.M. (Cal. App. 2d Dist., 2008), 167 Cal. App. 4th 136, 83 Cal. Rptr. 3d 850. People v. Ramirez (Cal. App. 2d Dist., 2006), 140 Cal. App. 4th 849, 44 Cal. Rptr. 3d 813.
- 21955 VC.
- 21950 VC.