Safety rules for pedestrians
Safety rules for pedestrians are important in preventing traffic accidents and rWalking is one of the best and easiest exercises there is, not to mention a great way to get from here to there at a not-too-hectic pace. The problem with walking is that the sidewalk and the road belong to everyone and, when it comes to meetings with cyclists or motorists, the pedestrian generally comes in second.
By following a few basic safety rules for pedestrians, you can walk safely on busy streets, sidewalks or park paths while getting the full benefits of the exercise and the view.
Safety for pedestrians begins before you go out the door. Always wear clothing that will make you visible by others. That means bright or light-colored clothes, hats and even shoes. If you're walking at night, wear reflective vests or sashes or clothing with reflective strips and carry a flashlight or wear a hat or other gear with a built-in light.
Don't be lulled into a false sense of security by the light of dusk or dawn - wear the same high-visibility gear during those times as well. If you don't have reflective or lighted clothes, at least try to limit your walk to well-lit areas.
Once you're out the door, it's time to find a safe place to walk. Stay on sidewalks if your walking route has them. Walk on the right side and keep your eyes and ears open for other pedestrians, cyclists and skateboard riders. Be courteous to other walkers and let them know when you're approaching from behind by saying something like - passing on the left in a voice that won't startle them. If there's no sidewalk and you must walk on a road, always walk facing traffic.
Don't assume that oncoming drivers can see you - move over to the shoulder or step off the road. Look in the window at the driver - be extra cautious if you see that the driver is talking on a cell phone or - even worse - texting while driving. Watch for swerving, it could be a sign of impairment.
These rules also apply to pedestrians - talking on a cell phone, listening to a music player with ear plugs, or walking while under the influence lowers awareness of your surroundings and puts you in danger.
If you need to cross the street, do it at stoplights or designated crosswalks. Look both ways and look again, especially if the road curves or there are obstructions blocking your view. Wait until all approaching traffic has stopped. Obey the signals and signs and keep watch for drivers who may not see the light or you in the street.
Avoid crossing freeways or multi-lane highways - cars approach much faster than expected at speeds of 55 miles-per-hour or faster. If you must cross, be patient and wait until there's no traffic. If it's an emergency, wave your arms or a jacket to signal oncoming traffic to slow down and stop. If one car stops, don't assume those in other lanes will as well.
Walking is a great way to get where you're going and we should do more of it, not less. Follow these basic safety rules for pedestrians and get footloose!