Sleep, eat, exercise – that’s the crux of the Three Conversations plan. And exercising is something that puts me on roadways often. I like to keep my metabolism up by exercising throughout the day. So, going to the gym or park is not realistic every time I need to exercise.
I spend a lot of time on roadways without the protections afforded by my car. I already discussed Cycling and how important cycling safety is. Now, let’s talk about walking on roadways.
First, let’s keep in mind drivers tend to be fairly ignorant of the rules of pedestrianism; so always be on your guard when walking on a roadway.
Second, walkers are afforded fewer protections on roadways than cyclists.
Third, Americans have grown accustomed to the automobile being king of roadways, and most communities do not have safe roads for walking.
So, here are some important tips about safely walking on roadways.
Before I get ahead of myself, let me remind you I am not an attorney and this is not legal advise. Walk at your own risk.
Now, Oklahoma law does protect walkers in crosswalks. But those are only legal protections. Plus, while you may damage their pocketbook, you will do little harm to their fender and you will likely get killed if you are hit in a crosswalk. Still a good idea to yield to the driver until you know they are stopping.
Drivers must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. But I cannot tell you how many times I had to yield to motorists who do not understand this law.
So many drivers do not even stop before the crosswalk at streetlights. Many times I have to wait for them to clear the intersection, even when I have the walk sign in my favor, because they are parked in the middle of the crosswalk.
If a sidewalk is provided, use it. Oklahoma law requires pedestrians to use sidewalks rather than roadways, except where sidewalks are not provided.
Walkers must walk on the left side of the roadway. This actually makes a lot of sense, but most walkers seem to be unaware of this rule. It is easier to get out of the way of traffic when you see it coming. Walking against the traffic allows you to do that.
Pedestrians must yield to vehicles in roadways. If you are not on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk, then vehicles have the right of way. Get out of their way.
For safety, you should wear reflective clothing such as a vest, especially when walking at night. I do a lot of night walking and I use a safety vest to make sure drivers can see me.
Plan your route for safety. Find routes with the most sidewalks and safest crosswalks, even if it means walking a few extra blocks.
Keep your head on a swivel. Avoid wearing hoodies or obstructive clothing that keeps you from turning your head to see behind you. Avoid using headphones or anything that keeps you from hearing traffic around you. And stay alert.
Finally, advocate for safer communities. Get involved with local government in city planning the make sure your city accommodates pedestrian safely.
Take care out there.