Everything You Need to Know About Unmarked Crosswalks in California

by Staff | September 21st, 2023

Originally published March 1, 2021.

Unmarked crosswalks are very common throughout California. With the absence of pedestrian traffic signals, drivers and pedestrians both might be confused about who has the right of way. Fortunately the law is very clear on the matter: the pedestrian has right-of-way and cars must yield to them. But situations vary, and unmarked crosswalks can make things more complicated in the event of an injury or pedestrian accident involving a vehicle. Read on to learn more about the complexities of such cases, and how Berg Injury Lawyers can help you if you’re injured at a crosswalk.


An unmarked crosswalk is the extension of a sidewalk, trail, or any other pedestrian pathway through a vehicular road. They’re located exclusively at intersections. In other words, an unmarked crosswalk is anywhere a marked crosswalk could be but does not feature painted lines or a “walk” signal.

If there are no sidewalks or pedestrian pathways near the intersection, then there is no unmarked crosswalk either, and those looking to cross should find another, more appropriate intersection to do so. However, the rules for pedestrians using an unmarked crosswalk and for crossing a street where there is no unmarked crosswalk are the same.

If you find yourself at an unmarked crosswalk as a pedestrian, you must check to make sure that stepping into the unmarked crosswalk won’t put you in the way of oncoming traffic , creating a safety risk for both you and any drivers. For example, if you walk up to a crosswalk and there are nearby vehicles rapidly approaching and not stopped at a traffic signal or far away, it’s best to wait or find a different route. However, once you start crossing the road, drivers should yield the right of way to you, the pedestrian.


California law states that a pedestrian has a “duty of using due care for his or her safety.” That means they can’t walk into oncoming traffic.  By that same logic, if a pedestrian enters the unmarked crosswalk safely, giving approaching vehicles plenty of time and distance to stop, and they’re still hit, the pedestrian may be able to hold the offending driver responsible for any injuries suffered.

Of course, determining fault isn’t always simple in cases involving a pedestrian collision. Drivers often assert, rightly or wrongly, that they weren’t at fault for the crash. In such an instance, witnesses to the collision can be valuable resources for injured pedestrians who need to prove a driver’s fault when seeking compensation. Street cameras can also help establish liability in pedestrian collision cases.


If you’ve been injured at an unmarked crosswalk by a negligent driver, you have the right to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver for the costs of your injury. It’s essential you also seek medical treatment as soon as possible after the injury. At this stage, take care to collect as much information about the accident and injury as possible: medical records, witnesses’s contact information, security camera footage, police reports, etc.

In the hours, days, or weeks following your injury, you might be contacted by a representative of the driver’s insurance company. They’ll want you to give them a statement on the record. It’s important that you turn down the representative’s request for a statement.

Insurance companies often attempt to offer lowball settlements to injured people. It’s possible the offer an insurer makes you will be nowhere near enough to cover the many costs you face due to the actions of the at-fault driver.

Instead, consider contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your injury occurs. Your lawyer will be able to help you determine how much you’re owed and deal with the insurance company on your behalf to fight for the compensation you deserve.


At Berg Injury Lawyers, our California car accident attorneys have years of experience fighting for the maximum amount of compensation our clients deserve. We offer free consultations to help you explore your legal options. Contact our team today to get started on your case.