Colorado Jaywalking Laws

Jaywalking, the act of crossing a street illegally, is a common issue in many urban areas. The state of Colorado, like many other states, has specific laws that regulate jaywalking to ensure the safety of both pedestrians and motorists. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Colorado’s jaywalking laws, including what constitutes jaywalking, the fines and penalties associated with violating these laws, and some tips for staying safe while crossing the street.

If you sustained injuries in an accident in Colorado, contact the personal injury lawyers at Front Range Injury Attorneys today to schedule your free consultation. Our experienced legal team are knowledgeable and zealous advocates for our clients and their cases. We treat our clients as people, not case files. Learn more about how we can help you pursue compensation for your injuries and damages. Contact our Denver law firm to learn more.

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What is jaywalking in Colorado?

Jaywalking is the act of crossing a street outside of a designated crosswalk or pedestrian crossing. The term “jaywalking” originated in the early 20th century, stemming from the word “jay,” which was a term used to describe a naive or inexperienced person. Jaywalking gained prominence as automobile use surged, and cities began implementing traffic laws to manage the increasing flow of vehicles and pedestrians.

Colorado law defines a crosswalk as “any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere, clearly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface.” On the other hand, Colorado law does not define jaywalking specifically. Colorado Revised Statute 42-4-803 makes it a traffic offense to cross a road at any place between two intersections with working traffic control signals other than a crosswalk. That is a definition of jaywalking without using the term.

While jaywalking may seem like a minor infraction, it can have serious consequences. Crossing a street outside of designated areas can put pedestrians at risk of being struck by vehicles, leading to injuries or even fatalities. Additionally, jaywalking can disrupt the flow of traffic, causing delays and potentially contributing to accidents.

Colorado jaywalking laws

Colorado has several laws that regulate pedestrian behavior on the road. Below are the most important ones to keep in mind:

  • Pedestrian’s duty to obey traffic control signals and devices: Pedestrians in Colorado are required to obey traffic control signals and devices such as crosswalk signals, stop signs, and traffic lights. Failing to obey these signals can result in a fine.
  • Pedestrian’s right-of-way in crosswalks: In Colorado, pedestrians have the right-of-way in crosswalks. Motorists are required to yield to pedestrians who are lawfully crossing in a crosswalk. Pedestrians, on the other hand, are required to use crosswalks when they are available.
  • Pedestrian’s right-of-way on sidewalks: Pedestrians also have the right-of-way on sidewalks in Colorado. Motorists are required to yield to pedestrians who are crossing a driveway or an alleyway that intersects with a sidewalk.
  • Crossing at other than crosswalks: Pedestrians who cross a street at a location other than a crosswalk or pedestrian crossing, where one is available, are breaking the law in Colorado. This is also known as jaywalking.
  • Jaywalking in business districts: In business districts in Colorado, pedestrians are required to use crosswalks or pedestrian crossings to cross the street. Jaywalking in a business district can result in a higher fine than jaywalking in a residential area.

Penalties for jaywalking in Colorado

The penalties for jaywalking in Colorado vary depending on the specific violation. The fines can range from $15 to $100 for a first offense, with subsequent offenses resulting in higher fines and even the possibility of community service.

As personal injury lawyers, we are concerned with the other penalty for jaywalking, which is an increased risk of a pedestrian collision. Drivers are more likely to strike a pedestrian crossing unexpectedly or away from an intersection. If you cause an accident with a vehicle while jaywalking, you may be found partially or completely liable for the accident. You may be responsible for your own medical bills which will likely be far more than the cost of a ticket for jaywalking.

Tips for pedestrians to avoid jaywalking

To avoid violating Colorado’s jaywalking laws, pedestrians can follow these tips:

  • Always use crosswalks and pedestrian crossings when they are available.
  • Wait for the “Walk” signal before crossing the street.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street.
  • Avoid crossing the street mid-block.

Tips for motorists to avoid accidents with pedestrians

To avoid accidents with pedestrians, motorists can follow these tips:

  • Always yield to pedestrians who are lawfully crossing in a crosswalk or pedestrian crossing.
  • Slow down and be prepared to stop when approaching a crosswalk or pedestrian crossing.
  • Avoid distractions such as texting or using a mobile phone while driving.
  • Look for pedestrians before turning or changing lanes.

Dangers of jaywalking

Jaywalking can be dangerous and lead to serious accidents, which is why Colorado has specific laws to regulate pedestrian behavior on the road. Drivers may not anticipate or look out for pedestrians at points between controlled intersections. That can increase the likelihood of a pedestrian accident. Marked intersections, however, put drivers on notice to slow down and yield to pedestrians. By understanding these laws and following some simple tips for staying safe, pedestrians and motorists can help to prevent accidents and keep our roads safer for everyone.

If a pedestrian is injured in an accident while jaywalking, Colorado courts may reduce a compensatory award or even bar the plaintiff from recovery under comparative negligence. Colorado uses a modified comparative negligence law which reduces a plaintiff’s award of damages by the percent of the plaintiff’s fault. If the pedestrian is 50% or more at fault, the injured person is barred from recovering any damages from the driver. Pedestrian accident cases are often complex. If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian versus car collision, you should talk to a Denver pedestrian accident lawyer right away. An experienced accident lawyer can assess your case and help you pursue fair compensation.


  1. Can I jaywalk if there are no cars coming?
  • No, pedestrians must always use a crosswalk or pedestrian crossing if one is available.
  1. What is the fine for jaywalking in Colorado?
  • The fine for jaywalking in Colorado can range from $15 to $100 for a first offense, with subsequent offenses resulting in higher fines and even community service.
  1. Is jaywalking a criminal offense in Colorado?
  • No, jaywalking is considered a traffic offense in Colorado, and violators are typically issued a fine.
  1. What are the most common causes of pedestrian accidents in Colorado?
  • The most common causes of pedestrian accidents in Colorado are distracted driving, failure to yield to pedestrians, and speeding.
  1. Are there any exceptions to Colorado’s jaywalking laws?
  • There are some exceptions to Colorado’s jaywalking laws, such as when a police officer directs pedestrians to cross the street outside of a crosswalk or pedestrian crossing.

Colorado Pedestrian Accident Lawyers

If you sustain injuries as a pedestrian caused by a motor vehicle collision, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and financial losses. Our Colorado pedestrian accident lawyers are experienced advocates for accident victims. We represent injured pedestrians across Colorado, including:

Contact Front Range Injury Attorneys today for a free consultation with our pedestrian accident attorneys. You can speak with our legal experts at no cost and no obligation to learn more about your legal rights.

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