Every day, more and more people are opting to walk/bike instead of drive, be it for health, economical, and/or ecological reasons. Road safety for those on foot or on a bicycle is just as important as for those driving, to keep everyone safe.
Paying Attention When On the Road
Paying attention is an essential safety factor, no matter what you’re doing. Listening to headphones or even using a cell phone is distracting and could contribute to a crash. Ideally, pedestrians are vigilant of traffic near them as well as other pedestrians. Also, when crossing a road, it is ideal to make eye contact with drivers crossing the path you wish to take. Making eye contact with a driver will let you know if they are paying attention to you, as well.
Sidewalks are always safer for pedestrians if they are available, so most states require they be used instead of walking on the road. If walking on the street is unavoidable, pedestrians should walk on the edge as far as possible from traffic.
Safest Place to Cross the Road
The safest place to cross a road is at a corner. Crossing a street mid-block is very dangerous. Ideally, walkers and cyclists can find an intersection designed for pedestrian use, but not all corners will have signals that coordinate the flow of both vehicles and pedestrians.
Who Has the Right of Way?
Part of being safe is knowing who has the right of way on the road, and several circumstances determine who must yield. When crossing the street, pedestrians and bikers need to follow the signals for crossing, if signals are present.
- Many crosswalks have a light signal that pairs with traffic controls. Pedestrians should watch for the walk icon signaling it is safe to cross. Also, if the signal is flashing, do not start walking. The flashing means the signal is about to change, and there is no time to get across.
- If there is a crosswalk that signals a pedestrian may walk, the driver is to stop to yield to the pedestrian. However, it is prudent to pause to ensure the driver does come to a complete stop before entering the road.
A large part of staying safe as a pedestrian is not assuming others on the road are aware of their responsibilities regarding yielding and giving the right of way. Looking both ways before crossing the street and continued vigilance while crossing multiple lanes of oncoming traffic is vital for safety.
Right Turn at a Red Light
Motorists often may legally turn right at a red light. Drivers are supposed to stop entirely and yield to both traffic and pedestrians, but because drivers are often looking to their left for oncoming traffic, pedestrians can often be missed. Furthermore, many drivers have a tendency to creep into the crosswalk in order to keep a visual on oncoming traffic, which blocks the flow of pedestrians. This situation creates a dangerous circumstance for people on the driver‘s right-hand side.
Drivers need to see pedestrians in order to yield. Wearing bright and reflective clothing helps make pedestrians noticeable, especially when it is dark. Ensuring drivers can see you is essential, especially on roadways that lack sidewalks or shoulders. Also, avoid stepping into the road from behind parked cars or other items, such as hedges. These situations block the visibility of a driver and make you difficult to see in time.
Unfortunately, distracted driving and driving under the influence are both very real circumstances that everyone on the roads needs to be aware of, as well. All too often catastrophic wrecks occur because of these issues. If you have been injured by another while out on walking, running, biking, etc, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Friedman Law Offices has been proudly advocating for the rights of injury victims for over 50 years, and we would be happy to represent you, too.