Whether you visit a big city like Chicago or stay in Peru, Morris, or Ottawa here in North Central Illinois, crosswalks are almost everywhere. It’s commonplace to see them in downtown or residential areas and near religious institutions, recreational centers, and schools.
The main purpose of crosswalks is to ensure pedestrians make it from one side of the street to the other safely. However, many Illinois pedestrians and motorists aren’t clear about how to act when they encounter crosswalks. Knowing Illinois crosswalk laws can help keep you safe and can help prevent a crosswalk accident.
What Is the Illinois Vehicle Code?
The Illinois Vehicle Code is the section of state law that details how individuals should act when they encounter crosswalks. It also contains other information about governing legislation in Illinois that applies to vehicles, pedestrians, bicycles, public transit, and more.
Illinois Right-of-Way Laws
The above-referenced codes spell out how vehicles and pedestrians must share the road. However, right-of-way laws in Illinois tell us which party has priority, also known as the right-of-way.
You may have guessed that in basically every case, pedestrians have the right-of-way. In other words, vehicles must yield to pedestrians in the state of Illinois.
Section 11-1002(a) of the Illinois Vehicle Code says that drivers must yield to a pedestrian’s right-of-way when pedestrians are occupying the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling. That same section of code also states that Illinois motorists must yield to pedestrians when they are on the opposite half of the roadway from the driver, where failing to stop for them might endanger the walker’s safety or life.
Cars should yield to pedestrians whether or not there is a crosswalk. However, section 11-1002(b) of the same Illinois Vehicle Code described above also states that pedestrians need to exercise caution. To this end, this section of code states that pedestrians shouldn’t leave “places of safety” such as curbs and enter into a moving vehicle’s path creating an immediate hazard.
If a pedestrian violates this condition, another portion of that same provision of the Illinois Vehicle Code, section 11-1002(c), describes that if a pedestrian recklessly and illegally crosses a road, cars have the right-of-way.
Is Jaywalking Illegal in Illinois?
Many pedestrians in North Central Illinois wonder if jaywalking is legal in our state. After all, walking across the street at any given point and not having to go out of your way to get to the nearest crosswalk probably seems more convenient.
Section 11-1003(a) of the Illinois Vehicle Code states that pedestrians who intend to cross the road by using an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection must yield to the right-of-way of vehicles. That same provision of the code also states that any pedestrian planning to cross the street at any other point aside from a marked crosswalk at an intersection must also give motorists the right-of-way first before doing so.
Illinois law says that pedestrians should only cross at marked crosswalks. Going against this could result in fines or, worse, injury. So, yes, jaywalking is illegal in Illinois.
Additionally, Sec. 11-1003.1. of the Illinois Vehicle Code also dictates that drivers should exercise caution to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or bicyclist. This section of the code also warns motorists to sound the horn if they notice a child, intoxicated person, incapacitated individual, or anyone else that appears to be confused.
School Crosswalk Laws in Illinois
The Illinois Vehicle Code distinguishes between regular and school crosswalks. The same right-of-way standards apply to school crosswalks as with regular crosswalks.
Drivers should exercise extreme caution around schools as children may suddenly walk into traffic. Fines are higher for drivers who violate crosswalk laws or speed in school zones during designated times between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Illinois Crosswalk Laws That Apply to People With Disabilities
Illinois law requires drivers to yield to pedestrians with visible disabilities whether there’s a crosswalk or not.
Additionally, state law expects motorists to take into account that people with disabilities may not be able or aware to cross at a crosswalk. Section 11-1004 of the Illinois Vehicle Code implies that drivers should take extra caution and always give the right-of-way to people with disabilities. However, that section of the code also states that anyone with a motorized wheelchair on a sidewalk or roadway has all the same rights and duties as a pedestrian.
It should be noted that Section 11-1005 encourages pedestrians to utilize the rightmost portion of crosswalks. With pedestrians crossing from both directions, there is a general understanding that it minimizes the chance of confusion and more efficiently ensures a consistent and safe flow of individuals across the street when parties stick to passing on the right side.
Consequences of Violating Illinois Crosswalk Laws
Violating crosswalk laws can be tempting at times, but it’s best to follow them for the sake of your driving record, finances, and for your safety and that of others.
Failure to comply with Illinois crosswalk laws can result in fines and infractions. For example, the first violation of school zone crosswalk laws falls into the category of a petty offense. It carries with it a $150 minimum fine. Any subsequent violations of these crosswalk laws are petty offenses but carry a $300 minimum fine.
While a pedestrian or driver who violates crosswalk laws in Illinois is likely to receive a ticket and fines, matters can be worse. Should an accident occur that causes serious injury or death, then it’s likely that the person who violated state crosswalk laws may face potential jail or prison time and civil lawsuits.
What To Do if You or a Loved One Have Been Hurt in an Illinois Crosswalk
Pedestrians and vehicles should know when each party has the right-of-way. The Illinois Vehicle Code states that pedestrians have the right-of-way while crossing a crosswalk. If they cross illegally or jaywalk, vehicles technically have the right of way. However, we all have to assume that no one has a clear understanding of the traffic laws we must abide by and must constantly scan the roadway for potential hazards that can result in accidents.
Illinois law allows you to recover compensation when a pedestrian does everything right (according to law), yet a motorist doesn’t. If you can prove that a driver failed to exercise their duty of care, resulting in them crashing into you, and causing you injuries, then you may be eligible to recover damages, such as past and future medical bills, past and future lost wages, pain and suffering, disability/loss of a normal life and disfigurement. If your loved one unexpectedly passed away after being hit, then you may be able to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the surviving heirs.
Proving liability in pedestrian accident cases can be challenging. Let the personal injury attorneys at Schweickert Ganassin Krzak Rundio, LLP review the details surrounding your North Central Illinois case so that they can advise you of the legal options available to you in it. Call us for a free no obligation initial consultation.