Pedestrian Laws in New Jersey

Being a pedestrian in New Jersey can be dangerous due to the number of careless and reckless drivers on the road. Learning and obeying New Jersey’s pedestrian laws can keep you safe as you walk or jog in your neighborhood. As a motor vehicle driver, following pedestrian laws can help you save lives.

What Are New Jersey’s Pedestrian Laws?

New Jersey has traffic laws in place that both motorists and pedestrians must follow to prevent accidents. Although motor vehicle drivers are in a position to cause the greatest amount of harm, pedestrians must also follow certain rules when traversing sidewalks and crosswalks.

Below are basic pedestrian laws that apply to road users in New Jersey:

  • Right-of-way in crosswalks: drivers must yield to pedestrians in marked and unmarked crosswalks, including at all intersections. New Jersey’s Stop and Stay Stopped Law requires drivers to come to a complete stop at crosswalks to allow pedestrians to pass.
  • Pedestrian signals: if an intersection is controlled by a traffic light or pedestrian crosswalk signal, pedestrians can only cross when signaled to do so. Turning drivers must yield to pedestrians crossing at intersections when the pedestrians have the right-of-way.
  • Pedestrian responsibilities: pedestrians may only cross the street at designated crosswalks or intersections. Pedestriansmay not leave a curb or place of safety to cross the path of a motor vehicle that is approaching too fast to reasonably stop.
  • Safe Passing Law: drivers must approach and pass pedestrians and other vulnerable road users with due caution. If possible, they must move over a lane or allow at least four feet of space. Otherwise, drivers must reduce their speed to 25 miles per hour and be prepared to stop.

If a motor vehicle driver violates a pedestrian law, he or she could face a fine and receive points on his or her driver’s license. If the broken law results in a pedestrian accident with injuries or deaths, the driver will face enhanced penalties and potential criminal charges.

Why Do Pedestrian-Vehicle Collisions Occur in New Jersey?

Pedestrian accidents are often caused by driver negligence, or the failure to act with proper care. In 2023, 173 fatal pedestrian accidents were reported to the New Jersey State Police. The highest number of pedestrian deaths took place in Essex County (24) and Middlesex County (20).

Examples of driver errors that can result in pedestrian-vehicle collisions include:

  • Failing to yield the right-of-way
  • Failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk
  • Running a red light or rolling through a stop sign
  • Failing to check blind spots
  • Failing to check before backing out of a driveway or parking spot
  • Speeding, especially in school zones or residential areas
  • Driver inattention or driving while distracted
  • Texting while driving
  • Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Aggressive or reckless driving

Most of these errors involve a motor vehicle driver breaking one or more of the state’s traffic laws. If every driver followed the rules of the road, vehicle and pedestrian traffic would intersect less often and deadly accidents would be prevented.

Any pedestrian who gets hurt in an accident in New Jersey may be eligible for financial compensation from the driver’s insurance provider. Contact the Hackensack pedestrian accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Hasson, P.C., to discuss a case during a free consultation.