As a jogger, I often find myself running in places where there is no trail and no sidewalk. All joggers know this is a dangerous activity, but when celebrities like Reese Witherspoon get hit, it brings the issue to the forefront.
In 2009, a total of 4,092 Pedestrian fatalities occurred in the U.S., the most recent year for which full data are available. A state-by-state study shows pedestrian fatalities increased by seven, from 1,884 to 1,891, in the first six months of 2010, according to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA).
While drivers are required to exercise care to avoid pedestrians; pedestrians are also subject to traffic laws as well. Below are some pedestrian safety tips to keep in mind when heading out to the road, whether you are going for a walk, run or bike ride.
Pedestrian Safety – Joggers, Walkers & Bicyclists
Know and obey all safety rules for where you live.
Use sidewalks and pavements whenever possible. In some jurisdictions, jogging upon a roadway is illegal, if an accessible sidewalk is provided.
Avoid being next to the curb with your back to the traffic.
If there is no pavement to walk or jog, keep to the left-hand side of road, facing oncoming traffic.
Wait for a green light when crossing at crosswalks and intersections.
Joggers who run along roadways should always wear light reflecting gear so they are easily visible to passing motorists.
Any joggers on a roadway shall yield the right of way to ALL vehicles.
Bicyclists must ride with the flow of traffic on the right side of the road.
Look left, right and left again, before stepping off the curb.
Pay attention when crossing the street. Don’t be distracted by iPods, cell phones or conversation.
Watch children closely and teach them safety rules.
Lastly, the Walkability Checklist, by the NHTSA, is a good guide to help you decide if your community is walkable.
This may all seem like common sense… and in large part it is… but it is often helpful to have a reminder from time to time to make sure more people don’t get hurt.
About the Editors: The Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.