Updated on April 19th, 2023

Car Motorcycle Pedestrian Waiver of Right-of-Way Definition & Laws

  • “[I]f one who has the right of way ‘conducts himself in such a definite manner as to create a reasonable belief in the mind of another person that the right-of- way has been waived, then such other person is entitled to assume that the right of way has been given up to him . . .’.” (Hopkins v. Tye (1959) 174 Cal.App.2d 431, 433 [344 P.2d 640].)

  • “A conscious intentional act of waiver of the right of way by the pedestrian is not required. Whether there is a waiver depends upon the acts of the pedestrian. If they are such that a driver could reasonably believe that the pedestrian did not intend to assert her right of way, a waiver occurs.” (Cohen v. Bay Area Pie Company (1963) 217 Cal.App.2d 69, 72-73 [31 Cal.Rptr. 426], internal citation omitted.)

  • An intention to relinquish a right of way will not appear from a mere showing that a pedestrian whose course is likely to intersect that of a vehicle at a crosswalk hesitates, stops, jumps back, or does any other act apparently impelled by uncertainty as to the safe course or desire to escape impending danger. Such conduct will not furnish a reasonable basis for an inference that he has waived his right of way. Hopkins v. Tye, 174 Cal. App. 2d 431.

  • Cal. Veh. Code § 551 (amended 1957) requires a driver making a left turn in an intersection to yield to a car “approaching” from the opposite direction, not to a car which has “approached” and stopped. Hopkins v. Tye, 174 Cal. App. 2d 431. 

  • In an action arising out of an intersection collision, an instruction relating to waiver of right of way was not incomplete because the court omitted a paragraph stating that intention to relinquish a right of way is not indicated by mere hesitancy or by appearance of indecision or fear or uncertainty, but only by conduct of a positive character that expresses a decision to waive the right, since such statement was merely an added detail or embellishment that defendant should have asked for if he had wanted the jury to have it. Hopkins v. Tye, 174 Cal. App. 2d 431.

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